Essential Keys to an Effective Emergency Action Plan
No workplace is immune to accidents. Accidents can happen to anyone at any given time. An emergency action plan is an essential factor of emergency preparedness. But having one in your organization may not be enough. The plan needs to be workable for it to be effective. If you intend to have an effective emergency action plan for your workplace but are not sure where to start, here are some of the keys to get you started.
Keep the Action Plan in Hard and Soft Copies
During an emergency, electricity is hardly available. This may make it hard to access the emergency action plan in electronic form. Therefore, make sure to store the plan both in soft and hard copies. This includes having the relevant phone lists related to the plan in hard copies, as well. The plan should also contain active contacts of all the employees for easy accountability during an emergency.
List the Location of Key Utility Shutoffs
All the important utility shutoffs, including their respective photos, should be listed to enable easy and quick location. You need to ensure the access to shutoffs is not blocked during your regular safety inspections. Ensure to also include the location of the tools required to access the shutoffs for convenience and time-saving in the event of an emergency. You should also list all machinery and pieces of equipment that need to be shut down during an emergency and the personnel to conduct the exercise.
List the Location of Special Equipment and Supplies
There are special protective suits designed for emergencies such as fires and chemical releases. Ensure to list the location of such items and ensure all the personnel who will be using the equipment are aware of these locations and how to operate the equipment.
Arrange for Plan Review
The emergency action plan should be reviewed by representatives from each department to ensure accuracy and workability to prevent avoidable surprises during an emergency. Normally, if one individual is let to write the plan on their own, they tend to write a plan that hardly works well in practice hence the need for proper review from each of the departments.
Arrange for Drills
Periodic drills help determine how prepared your workforce is to handle an emergency. They reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the plan hence can help determine the effectiveness of the plan. Ensure to critique the drills to help you streamline the plan by taking the necessary measures. For instance, check how the workers responded, including their reaction time and the ability to shut down pieces of equipment required to be shut down. Check also to see if they used the right exit points and order to evacuate the facility. Before launching the drills, ensure you have the right fall protection systems such as fall protection posts installed in all the necessary areas around the workplace to enhance the safety of your workforce.
Consider Shift Variations
Accidents don’t usually happen at specific times. They can happen in the morning or at night; on a Sunday or Thursday. Ensure to account for the variations in emergency procedures accounting for the differences in shifts or the days of the week when writing your action plan. For instance, ensure proper procedures are set for times where there are fewer or no workers and management in your workplace.