Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Jan 30, 2019
Are you and your employees prepared to face an emergency in the workplace?
Emergencies can strike at any time and may occur when least expected. Proper planning and having an emergency plan in place before emergencies happen may be the difference between life and death.
A workplace emergency is defined as an unforeseen situation that threatens employees, customers, or the public and disrupts or shuts down your operations and causes physical or environmental damage. When developing an emergency action plan, you should plan for a range of emergency situations.
Emergencies may include:
What is an emergency action plan?
Emergency action plans are intended to facilitate and organize employer and worker actions during workplace emergencies. It is recommended that all employers have emergency action plans in place, and the plan should account for a wide range of emergency situations. In addition to developing an emergency action plan, you should train workers on their responsibilities of the plan.
Not all employers are required to establish emergency action plans but having these plans in place is a good way to help insure that workers and businesses are protected during an emergency. OSHA standards (29 CFR 1910.38(a) and (29 CFR 1926.35) require written EAPs. If fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.157) requires you to have an emergency action plan.
Not sure if you need to have an emergency action plan in place? OSHA’s eTool can help.
What do I include in an emergency action plan?
Before putting your plan together, you should conduct a hazard assessment to determine what physical or chemical hazards are inside or outside of your workplace, and whether or not those could cause an emergency. Your plan should describe how workers should respond to a variety of emergencies and should take into account the layout, structural features, and emergency systems in the facility. Each site needs its own unique emergency action plan.
Emergency action plans should include:
Training Your Workforce
By developing an emergency action plan and training all employees about how to properly execute the plan, you will take the necessary steps to help keep your workers and customers safe if an emergency situation should occur.