Planning for Workplace Emergencies

An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies.  Almost every business is required to have an emergency action plan.  Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training so that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage during emergencies.

Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan that deals with those issues specific to your worksite involves conducting a workplace evaluation and describing how employees will respond to different types of emergencies, taking into account your specific worksite layout, structural features and emergency systems.  At a minimum, the plan must include but is not limited to the following elements:

  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures for employees who remain to manage critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Rescue and medical duties for employees performing them

Most organizations find it beneficial to include a diverse group of representatives (management and employees) in this planning process and to meet frequently to review progress and allocate development tasks. For smaller organizations, the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally if there are 10 or fewer employees.  The commitment and support of all employees is critical to the plan’s success in the event of an emergency.

For more information see OSHA’s Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool.

The OSHA Training Center is offering OSHA 7105 – Evacuation and Emergency Planning on September 11, 2017, in Dublin, California.

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