In case of a fire or other emergency situation, there ought to be an emergency action plan in place to kick in and help employees get to safety. A good emergency action plan which explains what the employees have to do in emergency situations will ensure their safety and wellbeing, resulting in fewer fatalities and less structural harm to the premises during emergencies. Establishing procedures is not a difficult task and only requires that employees react in a certain manner during emergencies, bearing in mind the type of worksite plan, structural features and emergency systems that the company has.
Based on the company’s plans, a good plan should contain the following features:
* Procedures that include dialing 911 to report emergencies, or dialing an internal number or pulling a fire alarm bell
* Describe the alarm system that employees will need to use in order to evacuate or take other appropriate measures
* Evacuation policies, procedures as well as escape routes
* Shelter-in places and procedures to follow in case of emergency
* Procedures governing employees who will remain on the site after the evacuation alarm has been sounded
* Procedures that will enable accounting for all employees having been evacuated
* Rescue and medical task – names of those who are responsible for giving medical relief as well as rescuing employees in case of emergencies
* A safe on or off-site location for storing backup copies of vital documents such as accounting records, legal documents and other crucial records.
In case of small shops, offices, small retailer shops and small manufacturing units that do not contain many dangerous resources or processes, there is no need to have any complex emergency action plans since employees can easily evacuate the premises on hearing the alarm bell sound or through other means such as public address systems. But, where there exist dangerous resources or processes, a more elaborate emergency action plan is needed. This involves detailed study of the site’s emergency conditions, evacuation policy and procedures, alarm systems and emergency reporting methods. It is of vital importance that employees are involved in planning the emergency action plan and that they are made aware of what to do in case of emergency situations. A well-organized emergency action plan will help eliminate unnecessary confusion, injuries and damage to properties.
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When setting out an emergency action plan it is essential to keep in mind the following points:
* What are the conditions under which evacuation will be required
* What are the conditions when it may be better to have shelter-in places
* What is the pecking order and designation of the person who will be in charge in case of an emergency or shutdown
* There should be specific guidelines for employees and employers
* What are the procedures during an emergency to help visitors or persons not speaking English or having a disability of some sort
* What special equipment is needed in case of emergencies
* Respirators for use in case of emergencies
Some of the conditions which may necessitate emergencies are floods, fire, explosions, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes or release into the air of toxic materials, radiological accidents, biological accidents, civil turmoil as well as workplace fighting.
The North Carolina Department of Labor offers a model emergency response plan guide that will help your company develop a plan to keep your employee’s safe.