Is your company within the nuclear zone? Here are some tips to prepare for a nuclear accident
Is your company located in the nuclear zone, in other words within a 20 km radius around the nuclear sites of Doel, Tihange, Mol-Dessel, Borssele or Chooz? This means that you are in a risk area. In such a case, an action plan and an emergency supply of iodine tablets are a must for the safety of all employees.
Risks inherent in a nuclear incident
The risk of serious accidents at a nuclear site is small but cannot be excluded. If a serious accident occurs in a nuclear plant, radioactivity may be released, with the risk of contamination to the environment and exposure to radiation. Prolonged exposure can even pose a risk to human health.
The risks for the population following a nuclear accident are mainly long-term, such as cancer and genetic abnormalities. The longer and more intense the exposure to the radiation, the greater the risk.
To check if your company is located in the nuclear zone, visit www.nucleairrisico.be.
Be prepared: the nuclear emergency plan
If a nuclear incident happens, rapid response and effective communication are crucial. That is why Belgium has had a national emergency plan for the management of nuclear and radiological accidents ever since 1991. Among other things it describes:
- the tasks and responsibilities of all parties concerned;
- the general organisation of the crisis management;
- emergency planning and intervention zones;
- human and environment protection measures;
- several stages in the complex crisis management of a nuclear incident.
Companies should also prepare their customized emergency plan, using the tool available on www.mijnnoodplan.be, for example. This helps generate a personalized list of the various steps to be taken following a nuclear accident. Another option is to supplement an existing emergency plan such as the fire emergency plan, with a section on ‘what to do in case of a nuclear incident’.
The only thing that remains to be done is internal communication: make sure all employees are aware of the emergency plan and know what to do in a crisis situation. By sending internal e-mails, publishing an information brochure or sending reminders via the intranet, for instance.
Tip: by signing on to be-alert.be you will be immediately notified by SMS or e-mail in case of an emergency. Registration and messages are free.
What you should do first if a nuclear accident occurs
- Keep your employees indoors. Hiding in the nearest building is a simple, quick and effective measure to protect your employees and yourself. Stay inside until the alarm is officially lifted.
- Close windows and doors. Gather in a central room on the ground floor of the building and switch off the ventilation. Keep your employees away from windows because they provide less protection against radioactive radiation than walls.
- Listen to the radio and watch TV for further instructions and information and only make calls when necessary. Overloading the telephone network may hinder emergency services.
- Provide non-radioactive iodine tablets. Ask your nearby pharmacy for more information.
- In the case of (preventive) evacuation:
- Follow the practical guidelines given by the emergency services on site.
- Remain calm.
- If possible, switch off water, gas and electricity supply.
- Hang a red cloth on the front door once the building is vacated.
Questions about safety at work?
Mensura provides professional guidance tailored to your organisation. If you have specific questions about setting up an emergency plan, don’t hesitate to contact us.