877-723-7622 Growing Safely Across the Nation

Ten Steps to Create Your Company’s Emergency Action Plan

Is your company prepared for an emergency?  Whether in an office environment, a construction site or a manufacturing facility, OSHA requires you to have a plan on how to handle emergencies.  Here are the key components you need to consider as you create and implement an Emergency Action Plan for your organization.

When it comes to creating and implementing an Emergency Action Plan, the process does not need to be complex or time-consuming to be effective. And, without an Emergency Action Plan, no one is fully prepared to respond to unforeseen workplace emergencies.

Here are ten necessary steps to create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to ensure the highest safety and survival in the event of an emergency.

  1. Create an Emergency Response Team (ERT)
    An ERT should have team members from all levels in an organization to ensure buy-in throughout the workforce. This is the first crucial step to ensure your EAP is effective and efficient in minimizing injuries, and illness and possibly preventing fatalities.
  2. Recognize and Assess Potential Emergencies
    What hazards do we have or can we create in our facility and specific work areas? Examples include f
    ires, First-Aid/CPR, Tornadoes, Floods, Hurricanes, Accidental Release of Hazardous Chemicals, etc.
  3. Develop Clear and Effective Emergency Procedures
    Your procedures should include an outline of actions to take during different emergency scenarios. In the event of an emergency, what is the plan to use as a protocol to ensure everyone’s safety? Examples include who are the first responders, where are the evacuation meet points, what to do in the event of an explosion, etc.
  4. Complete Emergency Equipment Identification and Location
    Ensure emergency equipment is readily accessible and well-marked. This includes first aid kits, fire extinguishers, defibrillators and more. The goal is to guarantee all personnel have access to emergency equipment and where to find it. Examples include designated fire extinguisher locations/signs, first-aid kits, etc.
  5. Conduct Emergency Equipment Training
    Properly train employees in using emergency equipment like fire extinguishers and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and provide first aid and CPR. OSHA requires you to train employees on the use of fire extinguishers or providing First-Aid/CPR. Examples include fire extinguisher P.A.S.S (Pull pin, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep), First aid/CPR/AED certifications that expire after two years, etc.
  6. Identify Location and Contact for External Emergency Facilities
    Be sure employees know how to contact external emergency facilities such as fire stations or medical facilities, if needed. Examples include the nearest fire station, medical facilities, police station, etc.
  7. Establish Alarm And Emergency Communication Requirements
    Establish a system to notify employees and designated personnel to ensure a prompt response. Examples include a central alarm system, radio communication, designated personnel to inform employees, etc.
  8. Document and Communicate Procedures For Rescue And Evacuation
    Create and communicate a clear plan for how to conduct rescues and evacuations including Designated Emergency Assembly (DEA) locations to minimize confusion and maximize safety. Include details such as how and who will conduct rescue, where everyone is to collect and who is to conduct head count whether indoors or outdoors. Examples include maps for Designated Emergency Assembly (DEA) locations, assigned first-aid responsibilities, etc.
  9. Assign Emergency Contacts
    Identify who should be notified in the event of an emergency to ensure key internal individuals are informed promptly. Your EAP should have the person’s full name, title and phone numbers for each emergency contact. Examples include the Safety Manager, Supervisors, Foreman, etc.
  10. Complete Periodic Practice Drills
    Conduct emergency practice exercises and assess outcomes, noting where improvements need to be made.

Once an Emergency Response Team is recruited, they can use this list of steps as a guide to ensure the successful development of each step and reduce complexity. The team will minimize the time consumed by the creation of EAPs greatly, as well as have a direct understanding of the importance they all took part in this program. This can create comradery, synchronicity and pride in your company’s Emergency Action Plan.

The effectiveness of the Emergency Action Plan will come from the unity created by the Emergency Response Team and the buy-in from all employees while being educated. The importance of each individual element in all emergencies should be key to enriching them with a sense of responsibility. Supervisor and management’s positivity toward the development, implementation, as well as execution of all Emergency Action Plans, will only spell SUCCESS. 

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”
-Maya Angelou

Jorge Zazueta, Senior Safety Advisor
Safety Consultants USA