A reality continuing to face business owners and managers is the need to prepare for emergency situations that can disrupt their business. Employers must have a workplace emergency action plan and train workers on how to respond in a crisis. Having a well-founded and strong emergency response plan for your business can protect your assets and ultimately save lives.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires facilities with over 10 employees to have a written emergency action plan. In smaller facilities, the plan can be communicated orally. But whatever the size of your business, top management support and the involvement of all employees are essential in effective emergency action planning. Workers must receive emergency action plan training on their roles and responsibilities.
You may ask, what should an emergency action plan for my business include?
It should include at a minimum:
- Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
- Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
- Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
- Accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
- Assignment of rescue and medical duties for employees performing them
- Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted in case of emergency
In addition, employers in certain industries must also take into consideration permit-required confined spaces rescue. Breweries and cideries, for instance, should assess the need for special rescue equipment for retrieval of an injured or unconscious employee from a confined space.
It is important to incorporate other aspects of your health and safety program into the development of your emergency action plan, such as, OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping requirements. A work-related fatality must be reported within 8 hours of the employer’s knowledge of the fatality. An amputation, loss of an eye or hospitalization must be reported within 24 hours. State OSHA plans may be more stringent on these reporting requirements.
So, how can I develop an emergency response plan for my business?
At a minimum, you should consider the components presented in the Emergency Action Plan Checklist in the development of your business emergency plan. Contact SafeLink Consulting for assistance in preparing your emergency plan for your business. SafeLink Consulting can also assist your business in writing your safety compliance program, implementing workplace safety training, and auditing your OSHA compliance. SafeLink's OSHA compliance consultants are ready to help!
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Get FDA & OSHA compliance training by taking one of SafeLInk Consulting's live webinars or continuing education courses online. New courses continually added! Complement your company safety program with a customized emergency evacuation map.