Standard Operating Procedures
It’s the worst-case scenario. Someone has been injured at a job and your employees need help. But you’re working a mine on this job; a mine with multiple locations, different addresses with the same name and no Standard Operating Procedures to guide you.
Your workers have 911 on the line, ready to help. But they don’t know which site they’re on or how to get to their location. They have an injured man’s rescue at their beck and call but no way to help.
Sound far-fetched? This would never happen at one of your jobs? This unfortunate event happened to one of my contracting clients. 2 of their employees had 911 on the line. But instead of being able to assist in his rescue, they witnessed a man die of a heart attack right in front of them.
What could these contractors have done to prevent this tragedy? They needed directions to their location of the physical address of the mine site to get help from Emergency Services. Anyone in the company could have easily gotten this information by asking a few simple questions before they started work.
Is using a map app on your smart phone an option? That’s a risk I’m not willing to take. Many mines are in extremely remote areas. Reception can be spotty or non-existent. Why chance it when you can easily avoid a tragedy by asking 1 question?
Can’t 911 just track your phone’s GPS location like in a TV crime show? No, there are Federal privacy laws in place that prevent Emergency Response from accessing GPS information. If you can’t articulate your location, there’s nothing a 911 operator can do.
One advantage these contractors had was cell phone reception. But what if they didn’t? Would they have known where to get a signal? Or have another form of communication available like a CB radio?
Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, are a safety net in place for that worst-case scenario. So I need to ask; do you have standard operating procedures in place for your mine jobs? Do you have emergency procedures for each mine you service?
If you don’t you’re not alone. But these simple procedures on a checklist can save a life.
What are the standard operating procedures your company must have in place? I’ve designed a 3 page standard operating procedure template checklist available as a free download as part of our Contractor Success Kit.
There may be procedures that don’t apply to your company and that’s ok. This checklist is meant to be a starting point, a framework to build on. Designing standard operating procedures is about asking the right questions so you can be prepared if something does go wrong.
The worst-case scenarios may never happen, and we hope they never do. But if a tragedy does occur and you’re in a position to make a difference, don’t you want to be ready? You can. All it takes is a little time and thought to implement standard operating procedures at your company today.