From natural weather events to fires, chemical spills and more, there are many factors that can affect your business and your employees over the course of a work day. While such emergency situations may not occur regularly or even often, it is imperative that you develop an emergency evacuation plan. This emergency evacuation plan is important because it ultimately could save the lives of your employees in a critical situation. By following a few tips, you can more easily prepare an effective plan of action.
When it comes to preparing for the unexpected, the first step to take is to think about what may happen that would result in the need to evacuate. You and your employees must somehow anticipate all of the possible scenarios that could occur at your workplace, and through this anticipation, you can then develop a plan of action for each situation. Consider which hazards may be located on-site that could cause challenges, such as chemicals or hazardous waste. Also, think about which hazards may pose a threat from nearby properties, such as a chemical plant down the road or a train track located close by. Finally, think about which bad weather events you may be subject to in your local area.
Then, you want to consider how you may respond to each of these possible situations. Each situation may require different action. For example, you may respond to a hazardous waste or chemical spill on-site by directing employees away from the contaminated area and off the property, and you may put one or a group of individuals in charge or making sure the facility is clear and calling the authorities for assistance. For a fire, on the other hand, you may have department heads do a quick walk-through of their specific work area as they also depart the building. For evacuations, you may have a designated area where everyone will meet, and someone will be assigned the task of doing a head count to ensure all employees are accounted for.
Some companies assume that department heads or managers will step up in these situations and take charge, but this is not always the case. When it comes to an evacuation procedure, you do not want to leave anything to chance. It is best to assign specific leaders to take charge, and you also should assign each leader with duties in these situations. Ask for volunteers, and make a selection of individuals who are responsible and who can remain calm under pressure. Then, educate each of your leaders about their roles in these situations.
If your company does not already have an emergency evacuation plan in place, now is the ideal time to prepare it. You can consider preparing it yourself, or you can create a designated team of employees to work together as a group to prepare it. When it is completed, all employees should be provided with a copy of the plan, and you should review it with them as a group to ensure that they all understand what they need to do in an emergency situation.
An employee with WHS Cert IV Safety Officer Training is the ideal person for drafting your company’s emergency evacuation plan.