#123 Cell Phones & 911 Emergency Calls

We’ve all become accustomed to recognizing and using “911” as the universal number for emergencies. Many contractors are filling out the Cal/OSHA emergency Phone Number Poster by simply writing “911” in all of the blanks.

This is fine – as long as the Contractor has a Hardwire (“landline”) telephone. If the contractor is using a cell phone – this is a problem. 911 calls are not routed to the local police/fire/EMS dispatchers. Most cell phone 911 calls go to the California Highway Patrol.

A contractor recently found this out the hard way when an employee was injured – three different people at the site dialed 911, and none of the calls were answered in a five minute period. It was not until someone went to another location at the project and called from a landline that the call went through. Fortunately, the employee was not critically injured, and this delay had no ill effect on his condition. However, five minutes can be the difference between life and death for someone.

If there are no hardwire phones on the project – the direct dial non-911 phone numbers for emergency phone numbers must be posted at the project. If there is a hardwire phone, but there is not 100% access to a contractor’s hardwire phone to everyone working on that project at all times anyone is on the project – the direct dial non-911 phone numbers for emergency phone numbers must be posted at the project.

This notice should be made part of the Contractor/Subcontractor employee orientation and emergency procedure training. Please make sure all of your subcontractors are aware of this.