OSHA strongly recommends that all workplaces with more than 10 employees develop a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to document the procedures and responses required by employees in the face of a disaster or crisis.
The plan must be kept in the workplace and available for employees to review. OSHA also requires that employees are trained appropriately on the plan.
What are the components of an emergency action plan?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are several components to any Emergency Action Plan (EAP), no matter what industry you're working in:
Provide responses to different types of emergencies. The way you would respond to a tornado would be different than the way your company would handle a chemical spill, an earthquake, or a fire.
Include an evacuation plan for every section of the facility.
Keep a list both inside and outside your building that includes the names, phone numbers, addresses, and emergency contact info for every employee and worker who may be on-site and a method for accounting for all employees after the evacuation.
Document the contact information and responsibilities for outside responders such as fire, police, utility providers, who will assist in an emergency.
List employee procedures and roles including the reporting of the emergency and the procedures for individuals who may remain behind to perform critical operations after an evacuation.
Include the responsibilities and contact information of the response commander; emergency coordinator; floor monitors; and individuals who will assist the physically challenged or perform other medical and rescue duties;
Perform routine checks to ensure that everyone remembers their specific role and responsibility in handling catastrophes.
OSHA has a more comprehensive guide to creating an EAP on its website. and the CDC includes a great template for creating an EAP.
Alarms and the EAP
Formulating lines of communication is one of the most important parts of the EAP. OSHA has specific guidance and tips as it relates to emergency communication.
Every employee should understand the alarm system and what it sounds like, especially if different alarms are used for different catastrophes.
Install a public address system and radios that allow for workers to communicate in a more direct way than afforded by cell phones and landlines. Make sure each employee knows how to use these devices properly.
What Training is Required for an Emergency Action Plan?
OSHA requires training on the emergency action plan for all employees. Employees need to be trained when the following occurs:
An employee is assigned initially to a job
An employee’s responsibilities under the plan changes
The plan is changed
OSHA strongly also recommends annual refresher training and drills for all employees. Vector Solutions offers comprehensive safety training courses that allow you to deliver emergency action plan training to your employees including course topics such as emergency planning, emergency response plans, fire prevention, and more. Contact us for more information on how Vector Solutions can assist you in delivering safety training content to your workforce.