Emergency Action Plans

Course Introduction

Why Should You Have an Emergency Action Plan?

The importance of an effective workplace safety and health program cannot be overemphasized. There are many benefits from such a program, including increased productivity, improved employee morale, reduced absenteeism and illness, and reduced workers' compensation rates. Unfortunately, workplace accidents and illnesses still occur in spite of efforts to prevent them, and proper planning is necessary to effectively respond to emergencies.

Several Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards explicitly require employers to have emergency action plans for their workplaces. Emergency preparedness is a well-known concept in protecting workers' safety and health. To help employers, safety and health professionals, training directors, and others, the OSHA requirements for emergencies are compiled and summarized in this booklet.

This course provides a generic, non-exhaustive overview of OSHA standards for emergencies. It is not intended to alter or determine compliance responsibilities in OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Please review the current OSHA standards applicable to your work operations to ensure your compliance.

At a minimum, OSHA requires EAPs to include:

  • means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • emergency procedures and 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

It's also a good idea to include these elements in your EAP, although they are not specifically required by OSHA:

  • 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.
  • A secure location, on or off site, to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees' emergency contact lists, and other essential records.

Key Topics

  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP) Components
  • EAP Development
  • EAP Policies and Procedures
  • Natural and Man-made Emergencies
  • Evacuation Routes
  • Assembly Areas
  • EAP Training and Drills
  • Plan Review
  • Management Duties and Responsibilities
  • Plan Administrator Duties and Responsibilities
  • Evacuation Warden Duties and Responsibilities
  • Employees Duties and Responsibilities

Target Audience

  • Manager