In this week’s Safetip, we talk about the use of a checklist to help with the development and creation of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).
What is an Emergency Action Plan?
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards that aims to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Almost every company must have an EAP. For example, if fire extinguishers are required or provided in a workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA requires a company to have an EAP. An EAP must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review. According to OSHA, an EAP must include the following elements 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.
- Names or job titles of employees who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.
Although the following items are not specifically required by OSHA, the agency says that it may be helpful to include them in an EAP:
- 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.
- The site of an alternative communications center to be used in the event of a fire or explosion.
- A secure on- or offsite location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, employees’ emergency contact lists, and other essential records.
EAPs and proper employee training lead to fewer and less severe employee injuries, as well as less structural damage to a facility during emergencies.
Use OSHA’s Checklist to Develop and Implement an EAP
To help organizations with the planning and development of an EAP, OSHA provides a very helpful checklist that identifies issues that must be considered when drafting a comprehensive EAP. An explanation of each issue and/or examples of how each issue might be addressed in typical workplaces is provided.
Here are links to additional resources on EAPs, some of which were used for this post:
- Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool
- Emergency Action Plan
- Develop & Implement an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
- Create Your Own Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
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