Managerial and Organizational Challenges
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 11: Worksite Emergency Preparedness: Lessons from the World Trade Center Evacuation Study
Robyn R.M. Gershon, Kristine A. Qureshi, Briana Barocas, Julie Pearson and Stephanie A. Dopson INTRODUCTION The events of September 11th, 2001, and other recent workplace ﬁres, explosions, natural disasters, violent assaults with deadly weapons and other emergencies, have underscored not only the potential vulnerability of worksites, but the importance of preplanning for disaster response. Since the World Trade Center Disaster (WTCD), the role of emergency preparedness, in terms of mitigating the adverse impacts of disaster events in the workplace, has gained in importance and recognition, both nationally and internationally. In the United States (US), the leading workplace safety agency, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has identiﬁed emergency preparedness and response as an important cross-sector research program in recognition of this signiﬁcance (NIOSH, 2007). Worksite readiness for a wide range of emergencies is important, not only because it can help reduce disaster-related morbidity and mortality among workers and visitors, but it can also help to preserve organizational assets and maintain corporate functions and processes. Preplanning and response, therefore, is essential to business continuity and viability. While numerous recent events heightened both interest and eﬀorts in preplanning, a number of challenges to preparedness have hampered these eﬀorts. Perhaps the most important of these is the general lack of consensus of what constitutes ‘preparedness’. There is also lack of agreement on how best to measure and achieve this, and this is true at a number of levels, including the community, business, public health, and public...
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