Does Your Facility Need an Emergency Action Plan?

More likely than not, employers need to have an emergency action plan in place to keep their employees safe.

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The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires development of Emergency Action Plans (EAP) to address potential emergencies in the workplace. Employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written document. However, employers are still required to communicate an EAP to staff.

This checklist is provided only to identify an employer's need to develop an emergency action plan in compliance with the Emergency Action Plan standard (29 CFR 1910.38). It does not alert you to other OSHA standards that may be associated with your emergency plan or to the additional OSHA standards that apply to your facility.

The requirement to develop EAPs applies to all types of work locations, including, but not limited to:

  • Office Buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Retail Centers
  • Industrial facilities

An Emergency Action Plan must include 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
  • Employee contact information and assigned emergency duties
  • Fire alarms must be maintained and tested and employees must be able to identify the alarm, either by its distinct sound or visually.
  • Designate and train employees to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of other employees

Web-based technology can be utilized to improve consistency, accessibility, and efficiencies for companies that are required to develop and maintain EAPs for multiple facilities. Benefits of a well-developed plan with proper employee training (so that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan), include:

  • Improved compliance
  • Fewer and less severe injuries
  • Reduced potential for damage to content and facilities
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