Texas Tech University

Is your workplace prepared for a tornado?

Alan Ferguson

February 25, 2018

Safety+Health - Experts offer tips on keeping employees safe

When a tornado warning is issued, do your employees know where to go? In general, workers should find an enclosed, windowless area on the lowest floor, Edwards said. That area should be as close to the center of the facility as possible and away from glass windows. He also recommends workers crouch down as low as possible, with their faces down and hands covering their heads.

"The goal of tornado safety is to put as many barriers between you and the outside as you can to minimize the chances of you being hit by flying or falling debris," Smith said, adding that restrooms, closets or even walk-in coolers that meet the aforementioned criteria can provide shelter. "In many cases, you're looking for the area that seems safest in relation to other parts of the building."

To determine if their buildings can withstand a tornado, employers should consult a professional who is knowledgeable in wind-resistant design and can analyze each component of the building, said Ernst Kiesling, executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association at Texas Tech University. According to the Texas Tech website, the association uses criteria developed by university researchers to "ensure the highest quality storm shelters to protect people against tornadoes and hurricanes."

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