Any emergency can’t be called as such if it’s not unexpected. You can’t possibly come to your workplace expecting an employee to fall from a platform or for another to get burned by chemicals.
All emergencies are unexpected and that counts for the many fatalities that happen in the workplace every single day. This, however, is not to say that emergencies can’t be prepared for.
This is where an emergency action plan comes in. With this plan, you can better organize and direct employees to respond to an emergency. This can be anything from treating minor injuries, to rescuing a trapped co-worker, to putting out a fire, or to evacuating the work area.
It’s best to include both management and employees in creating an emergency action plan. This group should meet regularly to review the plan and assess it so that necessary developments can be made later. It’s important, of course, that you write this plan and provide copies to every worker in your workplace.
Some elements you must include in your emergency action plan are:
- Means of reporting emergencies
- Evacuation procedures
- Emergency escape route assignments
- Rescue and medical duties of assigned employees
- Procedures that must be followed by employees who are assigned to remain in the workplace until everyone has evacuated
- Procedures that must be followed after an emergency evacuation of all employees
- Names of persons you may contact for further information about the plan
Selecting a Leader
It is mandatory that you select just one person to lead employees and direct them in responding to an emergency. This helps in ensuring that you have an organized system during an unexpected incident. Make sure, though, to appoint another person who can act as a substitute, in case the first selected individual is not available. Information about this selection and explanation of their responsibilities must be included in the plan.
The selected individual, who assumes the emergency command role, does not simply refer to the emergency action plan for directions. They must be able to make their own decisions during stressful situations. They should know how to assess the situation at hand so they can determine which emergency procedures to prioritize and whether to notify outside emergency services, shut down some work areas, etc.
For this reason, the selected person must not only be knowledgeable of the whole layout of your workplace, they must also know the capabilities of other employees.