Emergency Preparedness and Response

9 Ways to Accommodate Disabled Workers in Evacuation Plans


Yesterday’s Advisor  looked at the critical importance of emergency preparedness for workers with disabilities. Today we’ll review some tips for accommodating specific types of disabilities in your evacuation planning, and look at a tool to help you with all your safety training needs.


Just as there are different kinds of disabilities, so are there different emergency evacuation accommodations that you can make for them. The Department of Labor’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) suggests these nine for starters:


Motor Impairments:



  • Evacuation devices are available to help move people with motor impairments down the stairs or across rough terrain (training in their use needs to be provided).

  • Employers should remove any physical barriers (boxes, supplies, furniture) to ensure a barrier-free route out of the building.

Sensory Impairments:



  • Employers should supplement audible alarms with lighted fire strobes, vibrating paging devices, wireless communicators, two-way paging systems, or other visual or vibrating devices to alert individuals with hearing impairments of the need to evacuate.

  • Employers should install tactile signage and maps for employees with vision impairments.

  • Employers may also want to provide alpha-numeric pagers or other communication devices to individuals with speech impairments so they can communicate with personnel in an emergency.



Whatever safety meeting you need, chances are you’ll find it prewritten and ready to use in BLR’s Safety Meetings Library on CD.  Try it at no cost or risk. Here’s how.

Cognitive/Psychiatric Impairments:



  • Employers should consider alternative ways of communicating with people who have cognitive impairments (pictures, color coding, etc.).

  • Employers should consider the effects of training for emergency evacuation. Some people with psychiatric impairments benefit from frequent emergency drills, but for others, drills may trigger anxiety.

Respiratory Impairments:



  • Employees with respiratory impairments may have limitations worsened by smoke, dust, fumes, chemicals, and other odors, and may benefit from products such as emergency evacuation hoods, masks, and respirators.

  • Employees with respiratory impairments may have breathing difficulties when walking distances and descending stairs. Employers may want to purchase evacuation devices, relocate the employees’ workstations, and work with employees to ensure availability of adequate medical supplies.

The OSH Act does not require that fire/evacuation drills be held, but it is critical that employees be trained in escape procedures and evacuation routes. If inspectors determine that employees are not trained to perform proper actions, such as how to properly exit a contaminated areas (e.g., walk upwind from the contamination), you could be cited for violation of the EAP rule.




We challenge you to NOT find a safety meeting you need, already prewritten, in BLR’s Safety Meetings Library. Take up our challenge at no cost or risk. Get the details.

BLR’s Safety Meetings Library can help limit your exposure to such citations by helping you better meet this safety training need. Its meeting on Emergency Preparedness includes quizzes, checklists, and separate handouts on preparing for natural disasters; chemical spills, fires, and medical emergencies; on exits and alarms; and on evacuation procedures and assignments.


And that’s only one of more than 400 already written, ready-to-train meetings on almost every safety issue you can think of. And in addition to the quizzes and handouts listed above, the in-depth meeting outlines are augmented with regulations (OSHA’s CFR 29), a listing of the most common safety violations cited by OSHA, and case studies of actual OSHA cases and their outcomes.


Safety Meetings Library lets you choose from a variety of training approaches, including:



  • Mandatory – Sessions that are OSHA required

  • Comprehensive – Sessions with broadest coverage of a topic

  • 7-Minute – Short, simple, targeted sessions to fit tight schedules

  • Initial – A session used as introductory training on a topic

  • Refresher – Sessions that follow-up on or reinforce previous training

  • Tool Box Talk – More informal reinforcement of a topic

  • PowerPoint – Graphic presentations for comprehensive. Initial. or refresher training

  • Hands-on – A session in which there are training activities

  • Spanish – Including Spanish language handouts and quizzes coordinated with English sessions

You can get a preview of the program by using the links below. But for the best look, we suggest a no-cost, no-obligation trial. Just let us know and we’ll arrange it for you.


Download document type list
Download product sample
Download table of contents

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