An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document that elucidates the actions of employees and employers in the event of a workplace emergency. A well developed EAP, when used in conjunction with effective employee training, can help to reduce the likelihood and severity of damage caused during such emergencies.
Here is a look at some of the most common workplace accidents:
- On-job violence
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Machine-related injuries
- Vehicle accidents
- Falling objects injuries
- Slip and fall injuries
- Overexertion injuries
- Reaction injuries
- Trapping injuries caused by a falling structure
- Handling accidents
Even though no two work sites are alike, all emergency action plans for workplace accidents have a common framework, which when followed, can help to create a plan that is robust and effective. Here is a look at the key elements that should be included in such a plan:
- The plan should take into consideration the emergencies that are likely to occur at the workplace in question. It is also important to consider that your EAP should account for hazards that could be created by your neighbors.
- Once the possible emergencies have been identified, the actions that need to be taken for them should be laid out.
- The EAP should designate rally points, which are evacuation points that the workers shall use in case of an emergency.
- Along with designating rally points, it is also important to verify safe routes through which these points can be reached.
- It is important for the EAP to have a way to ensure all occupants of the site have been evacuated in the event of an emergency. This can be done with the help of badges, proximity cards, or a badge station at rally points.
- Evacuation procedures must be reviewed at regular intervals, to ensure all employees are well aware of the EAP and how it can be applied during an emergency.
- The EAP should be reviewed at regular intervals to take into account any changes in the building or work site.
The responsibilities of employers and employees in an EAP are as follows:
- Ensure exits are not locked
- Test and repair safety systems as and when needed
- Display the workplace evacuation plan prominently, and ensure it is regularly reviewed
- Conduct employee training for the EAP regularly
- Identify employees with special needs and design someone to assist them in an emergency
- Pay careful attention to the EAP during training sessions and drills, making sure you thoroughly understand all its elements
- Ensure that you know the pathway to at least two exits
- Stay calm and follow the steps in the EAP in case of an emergency
- Do not reenter the building until it is announced that it is safe to do so