Navigating the rules and regulations of your company’s EAP (emergency action plan) to which your workplace is subject can feel like a daunting task. That’s why many turn to companies that provide safety training consultation and courses.
They help clarify the standards you should be paying attention to, which puts your organization on a solid path to full compliance, avoiding the bad press from receiving citations and the costly fines that can accompany them. As an example, here’s some information about emergency action plans.
OSHA standards require just about every workplace to have an emergency action plan (EAP). Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably misinformed. When the fire alarms sound, if anyone is going to evacuate the building, you need to have an EAP. In fact, the only way your organization can be exempt from having an EAP is if every single employee is both trained and equipped to fight fires, which means no one would be evacuating at all but instead would fight the fire. You might also have an organization where some of the people are ready and able to fight the fire to allow others the time to escape, which would once again mean you must have an EAP because at least some people would be evacuating.
If it’s time for your company to get serious about safety issues, look for safety training courses that go above and beyond minimum requirements. Whether your company decides to go the extra mile or not, you’ll at least have the information needed to do so. For example, the OSHA standards on emergency action plans require that they include the following (the list is verbatim from the OSHA website):
- Means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
- Evacuation procedures and emergency escape 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 an emergency evacuation has been completed.
- Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them.
- Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan.
If you have an EAP, it needs to meet at least those minimum requirements. However, an organization that is serious about protecting its employees in the face of a wide variety of potential emergencies would also include the following in its EAP (again, these are recommendations as they appear on the OSHA website):
- A description of the alarm system to be used to notify employees (including disabled employees) to evacuate and/or take other actions. The alarms used for different actions should be distinctive and might include horn blasts, sirens, or even public address systems.
- The site of an alternative communications center to be used in the event of a fire or explosion; and
- A secure on- or offsite location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees’ emergency contact lists, and other essential records.
When was the last time you reviewed your EAP, if you have one? Have there been significant changes to your facilities? If you can’t remember the last time you reviewed your EAP, chances are it needs some updating. You should make an annual review part of your standard operating procedures.
There are many options for health and safety training courses that will help your business make sure it is in compliance with all relevant standards, rules and regulations. By understanding them and complying with them, you’ll rest easy knowing that you are protecting not only your employees, but the bottom line of your business as well.