You know the importance of emergency preparedness in your workplace – and what would be at stake if a crisis occurred. Staying current with OSHA recommendations on emergency action plans (EAPs) is critical as you take every possible measure to ensure safety.
An EAP is a written document for the purpose of facilitating and organizing workplace emergency actions. To successfully develop and implement your EAP in accordance with OSHA recommendations, your organization should:
- Designate an individual to coordinate your EAP and evacuation procedures. This will most likely be your safety manager or someone in a similar leadership position. This individual is responsible for assessing situations to determine if your EAP should be activated, notifying first responders, and directing evacuations and the shutdown of utilities and plant operations as needed.
- Provide ongoing emergency plan training. Included in this syllabus are the individual roles and responsibilities of specific employees as well as procedures for notifications and communications, evacuation and related accountability and shutdown activities. Training should be conducted on an ongoing basis. Designated EAP training at least once a year is a good rule of thumb.
- Hold evacuation drills. Include outside agencies as appropriate so they stay familiar with your plan and procedures. Evaluate these drills after they have been completed so your team can identify plan strengths and weaknesses and implement actions for continuous improvement.
- Make your plan accessible to all employees. Be sure they know where to find it – and provide regular updates on any plan revisions. Written copies should be available, as well as online versions. If you have fewer than 10 employees, you can communicate your EAP orally.
- Keep your plan up to date. The most common outdated item is facility and agency contact information, as personnel and related information tends to change on an ongoing basis.
Basic Plan Elements
It’s not difficult to develop an effective EAP, but it does take full commitment and top-down support in order for your plan to succeed. Most organizations find it beneficial to involve a cross section of staff level and senior management employees in plan development and maintenance.
Minimum plan elements include:
- Procedures for reporting emergencies.
- Evacuation procedures and specific exit routes and assignments.
- Procedures to be followed by employees involved in rescue or medical duties.
- The names and job titles of all those who may be contacted by others who need more information on the plan or in the event of an emergency.
- An alarm system with distinctive signals for various emergency purposes.
Though not specifically required, it’s helpful to include an off-site emergency command center and a secure location for storage of copies of essential documents. These may include accounting and other business records, emergency contact lists and legal documents.
To learn more about safety guidelines and OSHA standards pertinent to your workplace, read our related OSHA articles or contact the team at Premium Staffing today.