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In June of each year, the National Safety Council asks businesses nationwide, including in New Hampshire, to focus on their overall preparedness to deal with emergencies. This means that a construction company must look beyond construction accidents, and ensure the safety of employees in situations such as flooding, wildfires, mudslides, equipment malfunctions, chemical leaks, building fires and more. Every business must have an established evacuation plan, which must be practiced at least once every year.

Employees must know who can order an evacuation, and how they will be alerted. A chain of command must be established to ensure that designated staff members will be there to assist others. Everyone should know where and how to exit the building, and at which points to gather to check that everybody got out safely.

Construction workers who have to evacuate a building — or a partial structure — must know the locations of all the emergency exits. It is crucial to make sure that passages that lead to these exits, and the doors themselves, remain clear of obstructions throughout the year. It is not uncommon for these often unused areas to be used as storage spaces.

If injuries occur during emergency evacuations, the same workers’ compensation benefits would be available as for those who suffer injuries in construction accidents. The insurance typically covers all work-related injuries. Along with medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages will form part of the benefits for workers whose injuries cause absence from work. Not all claims are approved, and an experienced New Hampshire attorney can assist with the navigation of initial claims, and appeals when necessary.