Written Emergency Action Plans - OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38

An Emergency Action Plan should be a written part of your municipality’s Safety and Health Policy and Procedure Manual, and available to all employees. 

An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and made available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan verbally to employees.

The purpose of the Emergency Action Plan is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that the employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies.

Potential emergencies may include:  Natural Disasters - fire, tornado, ice storm, earthquake; Technical - hazardous material release, dam/levee failure, explosion/fire, power/utility failure; Human - workplace violence, terrorism, civil unrest, hostage situation.                        

Your Emergency Action Plan must include at a minimum:
1.    Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
2.    Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
3.    Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
4.    Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
5.    Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform those tasks
6.    Job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan

Although they are not specifically required by OSHA, you may find it helpful to include the following in your plan:
•    A description of the alarm system to be used to notify 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, tornado, or explosion.
•    A secure on or off site location to store original or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, employee contact lists, and other essential records.
In today’s unrestful environment it pays to be prepared by having appropriate emergency action plans (in writing) and train employees in their roles and responsibilities.
 

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