An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is your way to ensure a safe evacuation in the event of an emergency. A successful plan will be able to highlight all the potential and likely threats you may experience in your workplace while identifying the steps employees need to take to safely leave the workplace. Today we will look at the OSHA requirements of EAPs and some other helpful tips that will ensure you won’t fail when an emergency arises.
Reporting an Emergency
There are many ways to report emergencies. From dialing 911, activating an alarm system, or providing an intercom announcement, all reporting features are critical to beginning an evacuation. Every second counts, and all employees must know how/where your systems are in place to trigger an emergency response. Make sure these alarms are distinct and recognizable by all who hear them.
Evacuation Procedures and Critical Operations
Once an alarm is triggered, employees need to know where to go and how to get there. Escape routes should be posted so that pathways are clear and visible to reach a designated location (usually deemed as Rally Point). Multiple escape routes will be needed in case one is blocked by a fire, disaster, etc.
If critical operations need to be completed prior to evacuation, make sure designated employees know these operations and how to complete them prior to finding their escape route. Some critical operations can include shutting down machinery, closing fire doors, or sweeping areas to make sure all employees have reached the Rally Point. Having a chain-of-command for employees and their duties will help this process reach each employee and allow them to know who to report to.
Rescue and Medical Operations
As employees reach the Rally Point, ensuring all employees have safely evacuated will assist in rescue operations. Once employees are accounted for, notify rescuers if there are any left in the building and where they may be based on their workstation or last known location.
Since most organizations will rely on public resources, having them know your facility will aid in emergency situations. Workplace walkthroughs will help first responders be prepared before entering an emergency situation while open communication with hospitals or local clinics can help them prepare to handle first-aid.
In the event employees become injured or your workplace is damaged, having proper recordkeeping and backup accounts will help you tackle the aftermath of an emergency. Emergency contacts for injured employees will be important in notifying their loved ones while documented training will help you know who has been properly trained for their emergency roles. Knowing important information such as accounting, human resources, and other essential records will help your company be able to continue running while the damage is repaired.
At STAC, our Training Management System can assist you with employee records including emergency contacts, training, certifications, and important HR information to provide peace of mind over your records regardless of the situation.
Preparing your EAP takes lots of effort from all employees to ensure that you are prepared in case of an emergency. Creating your plan, sharing it with employees, practicing drills/evacuations, and updating as changes arise will help make sure you are prepared for any emergency situation. To keep the conversation going, download the Emergency Action Plan Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.