Proactive Safety: Emergency Action Plans

An emergency action plan (EAP) is designed to facilitate and organize employer and worker actions during workplace emergencies. Disorganized evacuations or poor emergency response can lead to injuries, illness and property damage. Two OSHA standards (29 CFR 1910.38(a)and 29 CFR 1926.35) require written EAPs.

Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan involves conducting a hazard assessment of any physical or chemical hazards that could cause an emergency. The plan should describe how workers will respond to different types of emergencies, taking into account specific worksite layouts, structural features, and emergency systems.

Most organizations find it beneficial to include a diverse group of representatives (management, workers, local health departments and agencies, and public safety officials/members) in this planning process.

At a minimum, for businesses that are required to have an emergency action plan, the plan must include:

  • A preferred method and procedures for reporting fires and other emergencies;
  • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as floor plans, workplace maps, and safe or refuge areas;
  • Procedures to account for all workers after an evacuation, such as designating an assembly location;
  • Names, titles, and telephone numbers of individuals both within and outside the company to contact;
  • Procedures for workers who remain to perform or shut down critical operations, operate fire extinguishers, or perform other essential services that cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm before evacuating; and
  • Rescue and medical duties for any workers designated to perform them.

Additional emergency preparedness actions include:

  • Posting emergency numbers in the workplace for the fire department, and other appropriate emergency responders;
  • Arranging training drills for responders and facility personnel to practice emergency procedures together;
  • Designating one or more emergency contact persons that are knowledgeable of the facility’s hazards and processes and ensure their contact information is quickly accessible during emergencies;
  • Designating staff responsible to inventory and maintain emergency equipment and supplies including a description of the alarm system; and
  • Storing original or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, worker emergency contact lists, building plans, HAZMAT lists, and other essential records at a secure on-site or off-site location.

The EAP must also state how employees are to report emergencies. An emergency communication system, such as portable radios can assist in contacting local law enforcement, the fire department and others.

For more information on developing an EAP, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

 

 

 

 

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Nina McGinley

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