The Possible Need to Alert Other Properties
Accidents can cause serious injuries or death from the immediate outset, with the energy released in an explosion having the ability to kill instantly if it is large enough. In addition to this immediate risk though is the possibility for harm caused by the disbursement of harmful toxins in the air. This often spreads out over an extremely wide area, carried over large distances by the wind, and can in fact end up causing harm to a far larger number of people than were affected by the initial explosion itself.
Of course, the potential for harm in this manner will depend greatly upon the type of substances involved, as the more toxic the gaseous substances the more harm that will be done, as well as the quantities which are released into the air.
In such a circumstance, speed will be of the essence, as an evacuation of the surrounding area is highly likely to be necessary. Often it will be the emergency services who commence and co-ordinate an evacuation of the area, asking residents to vacate their houses and workers to evacuate their buildings. However, it may be the case that rather than waiting for the emergency services to arrive, assess the situation and carry out the evacuation themselves, the company could be proactive about warning nearby properties about the risks, so long as they do not put themselves in danger. As time can often be of the essence, being proactive about alerting neighbouring properties can end up preventing a lot of harm befalling those living and working nearby. It may be overcautious some of the time, but it is far more preferable to be too cautious rather than not taking action and hoping things do not turn out badly.
Many serious accidents and health and safety incidents have taken place throughout history as a result of people not taking an action and simply assuming or hoping that nothing will go wrong. In order to safeguard the health and safety of everyone, it is essential not only to take suitable precautions, but to proactively take steps to prevent harm coming to anyone. Passivity, apathy and assumptions such as "someone else will do it" are all significant contributors to accidents which bring about injury and ill-health to both workers and members of the public.
The same can be said of failing to alert nearby properties, either believing that the risk probably does not warrant it or assuming that somebody else will do it. Health and safety relies on proactive actions which err on the side of caution. So long as it does not delay the safe evacuation of the incident site and does not put anyone at risk, alerting nearby members of the public to the danger can help to minimise the numbers affected.