Washington State has a history of large earthquakes, as does California. More than 1,000 earthquakes are registered in Washington State each year. More than 10,000 are recorded in California each year. In an earthquake, non-structural elements, which is anything that does not actually hold the building up, may become unhooked, dislodged, thrown about, and tipped over. this can cause extensive damage, interruption of operation, injury and even death.
By taking action now, you can prevent injuries, save lives, and reduce the damage caused by earthquakes and other geological hazards. Non-structural hazards can often be really easy and inexpensive to remedy. Positioning furniture differently in an office room, bolting heavy and tall furniture to the walls, and removing dangerous and heavy items from top shelves are all possible fixes. Use your workplace safety committee, emergency response team, and maintenance personnel to identify and reduce or eliminate hazards.
To help protect your workplace environment from hazards during an earthquake, follow the recommendations in this video, like strapping down televisions, bolting large objects to the wall, and using sticky tape to secure items in place. It identifies potential hazards, shows how to lessen damage with simple preventive measures, and lists items for emergency kits.
*Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, 2001
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