One of the Most Common (and Unknown) Workplace Safety Hazards: E911 Non-Compliance
You take steps to protect against workplace safety hazards, such as by using a keycard entry system, security cameras and monitoring your network activity to spot cyberthreats. However, one of the most common yet unknown workplace safety hazards is E-911 (Enhanced 911) non-compliance.
From workplace violence to injuries to fires, the need to call 911 at your place of business can arise at a moment’s notice, yet not every phone system makes it easy to do so. For example, if your phone system requires a prefix before dialing outside your office, then someone in an emergency, especially someone panicking or who’s unfamiliar with your phone system, might struggle to reach 911.
Even if they do get through, not every phone system meets E-911 standards, where the location automatically gets dispatched, especially in multi-unit buildings. If emergency responders only know the street address of your office but not the floor where the caller is located, that could cause a significant delay in the response.
To help solve these workplace safety hazards, Congress enacted the following two new laws that many businesses either need to comply with for legal purposes or to protect employees and other stakeholders from workplace safety hazards:
- Kari’s Law: To overcome the issue of needing a prefix to dial 911, Kari’s Law mandates that any multi-line telephone system (MLTS) “manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after” February 16, 2020, has to be able to directly dial 911, according to the FCC. The law also requires phone systems to be able to report the location of a 911 call to onsite staff and notify another party when emergency calls are in progress.
- Ray Baum’s Act: In addition to the workplace safety hazards that Kari’s Law helps address, Ray Baum’s Act specifically requires any MLTS that meets the aforementioned criteria to be able to share the specific location of a call to dispatchers. So rather than just transmitting a street address, emergency personnel should be able to know the floor, building number, office number, suite, etc., of an emergency call. The compliance date for fixed devices starts on January 6, 2021, and non-fixed devices have until the following year to comply.
Altogether, that means businesses should be aware of the following four rules for E-911 compliance:
- Provide direct access to dial 911 without a prefix.
- Send notifications of 911 calls to on-premise contacts.
- Define geospatial location information for locations within your offices and enable home workers to self-report their addresses in real-time.
- Send detailed and accurate location information to 911 call centers.
Are You Prepared to Address These Workplace Safety Hazards?
For businesses that need to follow E-911 laws but which fail to comply, the penalties can be stiff, including:
- Up to $10,000 fines.
- $500-per day penalties.
- Possible prison sentences.
Even if your company doesn’t have a new phone system that would require E-911 compliance, having a phone system with these capabilities can be a proactive, life-saving step for you to take. While workplace safety hazards will still exist, you can improve the chances of resolving these hazards with the ability to quickly reach and communicate a caller’s location to emergency responders.
To help you get a sense of what it would cost your organization to come into compliance with these laws, we’ve put together an easy-to-use calculator. You can also learn more about these laws and sign up for early access to our E-911 compliance services program, which vastly simplifies compliance without having to switch phone companies.
Don’t wait until a workplace safety hazard becomes a tragedy. Get into compliance now.