A fire broke out on a Russian building site, killing 10 people and injuring a further 13. The construction workers, who were residing on the building site, we injured when the fire broke out while they were staying there, not while engaged in work. There have been concerns about the attention to safety on Russian sites where authorities are often bribed to turn a blind eye to safety breaches which is evidently costing workers more than anyone else.
This post from FoxNews.com explains:
Russian authorities say a fire broke out in the basement parking lot of a new building in Moscow, killing ten and leaving thirteen injured.
The Interior Ministry said the victims were construction workers who were living in the building at the time.
The Interfax news agency reports that Tashir Construction was responsible for the building’s completion, which was due in June 2012. However, company spokeswoman Marina Gaze is quoted by the agency as saying the construction work was complete. She denied that the victims were company employees, and said the company would have to “clarify” who they were and why they were there.
The high death toll in Saturday’s fire underscores lax safety standards that have become commonplace in a country where bribery is widespread and regulations rarely enforced.
Although safety on Australian sites is of a significantly higher standard than those in Russia, it is still worth recapping on what to do in the event of such as emergency.
It is the responsibility of employers to provide workers with a safe system of work and safe environment which includes providing them with appropriate emergency response procedures to follow. Workers must be trained on what to do in this emergency.
Workers should be trained on the correct procedure for an emergency evacuation. This will include specifying the location of first aid, evacuation assembly points, emergency phone numbers and anything else you need to know about the specific sites emergency policies. Site inductions are mandatory under OHS regulations and workers must pay attention to them and comply with the site’s policies.
According to legislature construction employers need to have emergency response plans in place that are site specific and consider all stages of the construction project in its inception. Another important aspect to consider is the ability and ease of emergency services accessing the point of the emergency. Employers must consider all possible scenarios and develop a control strategy for each such as what to do in the event of:
- plant and vehicle rollovers
- contact with overhead powerlines
- excavation collapses
- scaffold/structure,trench or building collapse
- sudden incapacity and immobilisation of workers
- Natural disasters
If workers are not trained on what to do in an emergency, confusion could make an already bad situation worse. It is human nature to panic and this can result in even more injuries and damage to property, that is why training workers is vital and even holding drills occasionally so that staff can familiarise themselves further with these procedures so that if an incident does occur, evacuation can take place smoothly and without further incident.. This will include routes to take in an emergency such as a fire, who to call, where to gather etc.
Remember that in the event of a fire or similar incident, self-preservation is the most important thing, if you get to safety you can be of more help than if you endanger your own life, (which you may lose in addition to costing someone else their life as well).