Accidents can happen at any given point in time inside the workplace. Aside from fires, you also need to be prepared for natural calamities such as earthquakes and storms. As a leader of a workforce, the job is to keep your establishment and all those within it safe from such scenarios fall on you.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a business owner is not having plans prepared during workplace emergencies.
It’s not just your business that’s at stake here. You should be worried more about your employees, customers, and their well-being.
Another reason to have a workplace emergency action plan is that it’s required by the law. As per Division 4 of the WHS Regulations, every organisation needs to develop, maintain, review, and implement an emergency plan aside from its range of services.
What Is An Emergency Action Plan?
An Emergency Action Plan or commonly called EAP is a written procedure that pertains to how entities will respond to various types of emergencies. It’s an essential part of any organisation as it can help mitigate expenses and the losses that often come as a result of accidents and disasters.
You’re free to create an action plan of your own. Alternatively, you can get help from OSHA’s tool that walks you through a helpful process of creating an EAP. If you’re here to create one, then here are a few tips on how you can create an action plan that’s effective and efficient.
1. Know The Types Of Emergencies
To be prepared, you must first know what you are preparing for. The types of emergencies that a workplace needs to be prepared for include but is not limited to fires, explosions, bomb threats, natural calamities, armed confrontations, medical emergencies, and even accidents involving hazardous chemicals.
Another thing worth noting is that emergency action plans don’t need to be grand or complex. They need to be tailor-made not just to fit the type of emergency, you should also consider what’s right for your business as well. Consider these things when creating an EAP:
- Size and nature of the workplace
- Types of hazards in the workplace
- Proximity of workplace to health and emergency services
- Size of the workforce and other people within the workplace
2. Evacuation Plan, Escape Routes, Floor Plans
One of the key components of an EAP is creating an evacuation plan for your personnel. Remember, the goal of this action plan is to make sure that all people within the workplace are able to get out of the establishment with minimal injuries.
It’s vital that you have a concrete plan for evacuation scattered throughout the office. This will help guide people out of the establishment.
Ideally, there should be multiple emergency exits within your building. They should also be located in areas that aren’t at risk of other hazards.
An evacuation plan can be categorised into three major scenarios: emergencies within the building, emergencies outside the building, and health emergencies.
3. Accounting For All Personnel And Visitors
There are lots that could happen in between the moment the evacuation begins and the time it ends. Any good EAP would have a plan to account for all of the personnel and visitors inside the premises of the establishment during the accident.
This will help you determine whether anyone got out safely from the building.
4. Reporting And Alerting Authorities
Once your employees have been evacuated out of the building’s premises, the next course of action is to alert the authorities and emergency services.
Alt Text: Emergency services need to be contacted ASAP.
This might seem like a simple thing to do but you need to consider the fact that natural disasters like storms are capable of shutting off your connection. You need to create a means to contact the authorities regardless of the situation.
5. Employee Training
A good EAP and evacuation plan is useless if your employees aren’t prepared for such scenarios. As per Workplace Emergency, training your employees is a vital part of any EAP.
This process involves conducting regular drills that test how well your employees know about the EAP. It also involves designating and training fire wardens for each floor of your building. There are institutions that can help you provide the apt training needed to prepare your employees.
Employee training needs to be consistent. If ever you’re going to make changes, employees need to be notified about what those are. Of course, it’s vital that new employees are trained with regard to the EAP as well.
If you can, you should even develop a physical guide of the EAP for each of your employees.
Having an EAP prepared for your business can be a matter of life and death. Accidents happen without warning and if your employees and your establishment aren’t well-suited for such scenarios, there’s no telling the amount of damage that can be done or the number of lives that can be lost.