Emergency Action Plans
Do I Need One?
Almost every business is required to have an emergency action plan (EAP).
WIf fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA’s 1910.157 standard requires you to have an EAP.
The only exemption to this is if you have an in-house fire brigade in which every employee is trained and equipped to fight fires, and consequently, no one evacuates.
An emergency action plan must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees.
An emergency action plan must include at a minimum:
- Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency;
- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments;
- Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate;
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation;
- Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties; and
- The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.
The employer must designate and train employees to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of other employees. An employer must review the emergency action plan with each employee covered by the plan:
- When the plan is developed or the employee is assigned initially to a job;
- When the employee’s responsibilities under the plan change; and
- When the plan is changed.
Nobody expects an emergency or disaster to affect them, their employees, and their business personally. However, emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anywhere at anytime.
You and your employees could be forced to evacuate your workplace when you least expect it. Remember to update your plan as your business grows or changes. If you haven’t reviewed your plan lately, now might be a good time.