Personnel Safety Training Training Workforce

Plan For Emergency Action

EP Editorial Staff | June 1, 2021

No matter how thorough your plan, it’s always possible that unrecognized hazardous conditions exist that might delay an emergency response.

By Ryan Dobbins, CSP, CHST, CIT, CUSP and Darian Perkins, MS, GSP, STSC, Safety Management Group

Industry leaders are highly trained to recognize hazards and evaluate various levels of risk to anticipate negative outcomes and establish mitigation. No matter how thorough your plan, it’s always possible that unrecognized hazardous conditions exist that might delay an emergency response. To minimize the impact these unseen deficiencies might have on your overall response, start by developing an emergency-action plan (EAP). This will ensure your team is prepared during emergencies such as fire, adverse weather, active aggressor, or chemical spills.

At a minimum, an EAP should include necessary procedures during a crisis, a clear set of roles and responsibilities, and established instructions for local emergency response and recovery agencies. OSHA’s 1910 Subpart E standards for exit routes and emergency response requires employers to have an EAP and a Fire Prevention Plan for emergency preparedness. Any company with more than ten employees needs a written copy of the evacuation plan posted where it is visible to the staff.

A building assessment and evaluation of the type of industry are key components in setting the stage for developing an EAP. Next, evaluate where the emergency exits are located in relation to where employees are working in the facility. Consider creative ways to establish response and evacuation by marking exit doors with a number and letter system for egress. This helps employees and responding agencies identify and locate critical egress points.

Here are some additional factors to consider when developing your facility’s plan:

• policies and procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency

• procedures for emergency evacuation or shelter in place, including type of evacuation (fire/gas leak, active shooter) and exit-route assignments

• steps to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate

• methods to account for all employees after evacuation

• procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties

• name and job title of the employee(s) who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

Performing routine audits at least quarterly, along with refresher training, will keep employees engaged and aware of their responsibilities during unforeseen events. Inviting local emergency personnel to participate in organized drills strengthens the relationship between your organization and the emergency agencies. First responders can provide insight, enhance the quality, and offer guidance on your EAP. When all levels of an organization are included in the development, employees become more attentive and engaged with facility emergency-response and action plans. EP

Ryan Dobbins is a Safety Services Manager at Safety Management Group, Columbus, OH (safetymanagementgroup.com). He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Construction Health & Safety Technician (CHST), Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT), and Certified Utility Safety Professional (CUSP). Contact him at RyanDobbins@safetymanagementgroup.com.

Darian Perkins, MS, GSP, STSC, has a significant role in safety training and education at Safety Management Group. He does some rather important things at the company. Contact him at DarianPerkins@safetymanagementgroup.com.

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