Does My Business Need an Emergency Action Plan? YES! Here's Why

Does My Business Need an Emergency Action Plan? YES! Here’s Why

While creating an emergency action plan (EAP) is an excellent way to stay OSHA compliant, this formal document offers much more. It can forge a culture of organizational safety and instill a calmness in the midst of insanity caused by manmade and natural disasters. Continue reading to learn more about emergency action plans and whether you should have one in place for your business.

What Is an Emergency Action Plan?

An emergency action plan or EAP is a formal written document designed to organize and facilitate employee and employer actions during workplace emergencies. When the EAP is thoughtfully planned, executed, and paired with effective training, it can reduce the severity of workplace injuries and minimize structural damage in the event of an emergency.

It's important to understand that not all emergency action plans are created equally. A poorly prepared plan can cause more chaos and leave workers scrambling for a solution. It can bolster property damage, increase injuries, and cause an upsurge in confusion when structure is needed the most.

How to Make an Emergency Action Plan?

Although it may be time consuming, putting together an effective EAP to deal with issues specific to your business isn't difficult. The process should revolve around knowledge gained from conducting workplace evaluations. It should also work in conjunction to your safety management system with special considerations for:

  • Structural features of your worksite,
  • The overall layout of the worksite,
  • Any existing emergency systems.

Employee Buy-In

It's important to include everyone in the planning process, including management as well as employees. These professionals should allocate developmental tasks, such as workplace safety checklists, and continually review progress. One of the most crucial facets is to have the support and commitment of all employees in the face of an emergency.

If your organization is smaller with less than 10 employees, your plan may only need to be communicated orally instead of being written out according to OSHA [29 CFR 1910.38(b)]

Minimum Requirements of the EAP from OSHA

While every EAP may be different, OSHA [29 CFR 1910.38(c)] suggests all plans include the following key elements:

  • Job titles and names of people who can be contacted;
  • Effective means of reporting fires and other types of emergencies;
  • Actions to take in case of terrorism or active shooter events;
  • Medical and rescue duties for the employees performing them;
  • Processes for employees staying on site to manage critical plant operations before evacuations;
  • Accounting method for all employees following an emergency evacuation;
  • Emergency escape route assignments and evacuation procedures.

Additional Considerations for an EAP

Even though the following requirements are not mandated by OSHA, you will find it especially helpful to include:

  • An alternative communications center or site designated before the event of the explosion, fire, or accident.
  • A secure off-site or on-site location to store duplicate or original copies of essential records, including legal documents, emergency contact lists for employees, accounting records, and more. With today's mass influx of digital technologies, it simply makes sense to take advantage of cloud storage capabilities.
  • A clear description of any alarm system used to inform workers to take certain steps or or evacuate. Each alarm for a specific action should be distinctive and easily identifiable, such as:
  • Public address systems
  • Horn blasts
  • Sirens

    3 Reasons Why Every Business Should Have an EAP

    Business Contingency Plan

    When you plan and develop an EAP, it bolsters your brand's ability to continue in the face of an emergency. It will help your business salvage products and equipment, recover from financial losses, and even help prevent business interruption.

    For instance, when your employees have a clear understanding of how to operate a fire extinguisher, they may be able to stop the flame from growing into a fire that burns up the entire facility.

    Create a System of Shared Responsibilities

    Emergency action plans will help bond everyone in the organization through the shared responsibility of executing the plan. While the assignment of duties empowers your employees, meeting to discuss changes to the plan helps keep everyone involved in the success of the plan.

    Forge Valuable Relationships

    The EAP allows your brand to forge favorable relationships with firefighters and law enforcement. Civil service workers value and appreciate the dedication to preventing workplace accidents before they ever happen.

    Contact Premier Safety Partners to Learn How to Create an EAP

    Premier Safety Partners specializes in creating state-of-the-art safety solutions. Our health and safety experts offer decades of experience helping organizations mitigate a variety of risks and achieve OSHA compliance. Some of the top industries we work with include:

    Contact Premier Safety Partners today to request a free consultation.

    About the Author

    Scott Ray is an industry leader in Health and Safety. Recognized for his business acumen and innovative approach, Scott has a track record in successfully implementing H&S systems that result in fostering a culture of operational excellence. His 25 year Health and Safety career includes both technical and leadership experience within diverse industries including energy/utilities, manufacturing, higher education, construction, defense and aerospace.