Safety Management in Place
News & Blog
June is National Safety Month and we at Daily want to do our part in reminding you, our customers and friends, of some measures you can undertake to ensure workplace safety.
- Ensure a safety management plan is in place A very simple plan will suffice in offices, small retail shops, and small manufacturing settings where there are few or no hazardous materials or processes, and employees evacuate when alarms sound or when notified by public address systems. More complex plans are required in workplaces containing hazardous materials or workplaces where employees fight fires, perform rescue and medical tasks, or delay evacuation after alarms sound to shut down critical equipment.
- Authority It is common practice to select a responsible individual to lead and coordinate your emergency plan and evacuation. It is critical that employees know who the coordinator is and understand that this person has the authority to make decisions during emergencies. The coordinator should be responsible for assessing the situation to determine whether an emergency exists requiring activation of the emergency procedures, overseeing emergency procedures, notifying and coordinating with outside emergency services, and directing shutdown of utilities or plant operations if necessary.
- Train & Designate Before implementing the emergency action plan, the employer must designate and train enough people to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of employees. [29 CFR 1910.38(e)] Employers should review the plan with each employee when the initial plan is developed and when each employee is initially assigned to the job. [29 CFR 1910.38(f)(1)] Employers should review the plan with each employee when his/her actions or responsibilities under the plan change or when the plan changes. [29 CFR 1910.38(f)(2) and 29 CFR 1910.38(f)(3)] Effective plans often call for retraining employees annually and include drills in which employees can practice evacuating their workplace and gathering in the assembly area.
- Training & Plan Review Once you have completed your emergency action plan, review it carefully with your employees and post it in an area where all employees will have access to it.The employer must review with each employee upon initial assignment those parts of the EAP and fire prevention plan (FPP) that the employee must know to protect him or herself in the event of an emergency. The written plans must be available to the employees and kept at the workplace. For employers with 10 or fewer employees, the plans may be communicated orally. [29 CFR 1910.38(b) and 29 CFR 1910.39(b)]
The plans should also be reviewed with other companies or employee groups in your building to ensure that your efforts will be coordinated with theirs, enhancing the effectiveness of your plan. In addition, if you rely on assistance from local emergency responders such as the fire department, local HAZMAT teams, or other outside responders, you may find it useful to review and coordinate your emergency plans with these organizations. This ensures that you are aware of the capabilities of these outside responders and that they know what you expect of them.
It is a good idea to hold practice evacuation drills. Evacuation drills permit employees to become familiar with the emergency procedures, their egress routes, and assembly locations, so that if an actual emergency should occur, they will respond properly. Drills should be conducted as often as necessary to keep employees prepared. Include outside resources, such as fire and police departments, when possible. After each drill, gather management and employees to evaluate the effectiveness of the drill. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your plan and work to improve it.
Operations and personnel change frequently, and an outdated plan will be of little use in an emergency. You should review the contents of your plan regularly and update it whenever an employee’s emergency actions or responsibilities change, or when there is a change in the layout or design of the facility, new equipment, hazardous materials, or processes are introduced that affect evacuation routes, or new types of hazards are introduced that require special actions. The most common outdated item in plans is the facility and agency contact information. Consider placing this important information on a separate page in the front of the plan so that it can be readily updated.
OSHA shares e-tools on emergency planning. Check it out here https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/eap.html.