Emergency Action/Response Plan
Introduction: Emergency Action/Response Plans are required by OSHA so that workers on a jobsite know how to safely react to serious emergency situations. This plan is designed for the safety and well-being of employees and it is important that all personnel involved in such an event understand their area of responsibility during an emergency evacuation or response. Following are highlights pertaining to OSHA regulations:
The emergency action plan shall be in writing (except for companies with 10 or fewer employees, in which case the plan may be communicated orally) and shall cover those designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure safety from fire and other emergencies.
The emergency action plan should address emergencies that may reasonably be expected in the workplace. Examples are:
Fire, Toxic chemical releases, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Blizzards, Floods, Earthquakes, Other catastrophes
The plan should list in detail the procedures to be taken by those employees who have been selected to remain behind to care for essential plant operations until their evacuation becomes absolutely necessary. Essential plant operations may include the monitoring of power or other essential services which cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm.
Following are the minimum elements that shall be included in the plan:
– Emergency escape procedures and escape route assignments
– Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
– Procedures to account for all employees after emergency evacuation has been completed
– The preferred means of reporting fires and other emergencies
– Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them
– Names or regular job titles of persons or departments who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan
Before implementing the emergency action plan, the employer shall designate and train a sufficient number of persons to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of employees. The training includes:
– Use of floor plans and workplace maps which clearly show the emergency escape routes included in the emergency action plan.
– A list of refuge/safe zones will be specified for evacuation (a refuge zone is a meeting area designated in a location deemed safe for employees).
– Any employees in need of evacuation assistance shall be partnered with another employee.
– Trained evacuation personnel conduct head counts once evacuation has been completed. No employee is permitted to re-enter the building until advised by the appropriate personnel (after determination has been made that such re-entry is safe).
Once each evacuated group of employees has reached their evacuation destinations, each trained evacuation employee shall:
- Take roll of his or her group 2. Make sure all persons are accounted for 3. Assume role of department contact to answer questions
Alarm System: The employer shall establish an employee alarm system. If the employee alarm system is used for alerting fire brigade members, or for other purposes, a distinctive signal for each purpose shall be used.
The plan shall be reviewed with each employee covered by the plan at the following times:
– Initially when the plan is developed
– Whenever the employee’s responsibilities or designated actions under the plan change
– Whenever the plan is changed
– The employer shall review with each employee upon initial assignment those parts of the plan which the employee must know to protect the employee in the event of an emergency.
– The written plan shall be kept at the workplace and made available for employee review.
Conclusion: Rescue and medical aid may be necessary during emergency situations. Circumstances calling for rescue and/or medical aid include serious injury or illness, medical conditions, injury resulting from a catastrophe, and various accidents. Designated first aid responders are to provide medical assistance within their capabilities to employees requiring it during an emergency situation. Professional emergency services responding in an emergency shall direct all rescue and medical duty assignments upon their arrival. In multi-story buildings where more than one employer is on a single floor, it is essential they coordinate their plans with each other to avoid conflicts and confusion. Follow these requirements for implementing the proper Emergency Action/Response Plan.