Emergencies are mainly local in nature and can result from mudslides, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, avalanche, floods and tornadoes or from non‑natural incidents involving transportation accidents, power failure, security breaches and data loss, gas leaks, structural collapse, detonated bombs, chemical spills, radiation release from a nuclear power station or from bodily harm and trauma caused by workplace violence.
Emergency planning and recovery
Helping you be prepared for disaster.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that was created by Congress in 1970 to protect workers from hazards in the workplace. OSHA specifically requires employers with 11 or more employees to have a written Emergency Action Plan for individuals involved in providing fire prevention, emergency medical or evaluation assistance. In an emergency, all personnel should know their role and where to go if shelter must be sought, as well as escape routes and shutdown procedures. A written Emergency Action Plan according to OSHA should include (OSHA 1910 Subpart L, Fire Protection):
- An alarm system that is audible within the work environment.
- Escape procedures and routes (include a map, if necessary).
- Procedures to account for all employees when evacuation is complete.
- Rescue and medical duties of employees who perform them.
- Identification of likely hazards (hazard assessment/risk evaluation).
- How to report fires and other emergencies.
- Whom to contact for more information.
- Update the plan at least annually and communicate changes to employees.
Other key points:
New employees should be made aware of the plan. In general, all employees should be alerted when their duties under the plan change and whenever the plan changes overall. The written Emergency Response Plan should document all training and review sessions, but it’s not required.
Drills and interactive training that reference the plan are a great way to teach employees about their responsibilities and what to do in actual emergencies. After initial training, there should be periodic retraining. Remember to check the functioning of emergency equipment according to a schedule.