How to make the most of emergency procedures in the workplace
Emergency Procedures are non-negotiable for all workplaces and businesses.
An emergency plan is a set of written instructions that tells workers and visitors exactly what to do when faced with an emergency. Safe Work Australia says any business owner must prepare an emergency plan for their workplace, not only to avoid penalties, but also because it is their responsibility to keep visitors and employees safe. Need help creating your plan? We’ve put together this guide to help you ensure you have the correct procedures in place.
Moving staff and visitors to safety is critical in an emergency. Strong and well-planned evacuation procedures are what make this happen effectively and in the shortest timeframe. Here are some tips for maximising your evacuation plan:
- Have clearly mapped out routes to a safety assembly area and always keep these areas clear and unobstructed
- Create an effective process to ensure all individuals are accounted for, so you can be confident nobody is missing
- Provide special assistance to individuals with hearing, vision or mobility impairments
- Ensure your evacuation procedures are reviewed regularly
- Ensure your evacuation diagrams are clearly displayed throughout our building
Update your emergency procedures regularly
Just like any building, evacuation procedures need maintenance. Circumstances, requirements and business practices are constantly changing. Consider how any changes to your facility might affect your emergency procedures. For example, a change of staff or building upgrades should require you to rethink parts of your evacuation procedures – whether that impacts the emergency assembly point, the type of fire equipment you’ll need, or who could be administering this.
Training makes all the difference
Training workers in implementation of key fire and emergency procedures is essential to your success. After all, having great emergency procedures doesn’t count for much if your team doesn’t have the right training. Evacuation also becomes far more effective if everyone is clued in on the systems and processes. Your team should be trained in:
- The use of evacuation equipment and where to find this on the premises
- The location of evacuation diagrams on the premises
- The emergency roles and responsibilities of team members.
You should provide specific training to your organisation’s Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) – the team responsible for certain roles & responsibilities in case of emergency.
First aid training can mean the difference between life, death and serious harm. Here are some tips for maximising safety with first aid:
- Conduct a first aid assessment of the premises
- Ensure you have trained first aiders on your staff and suitable first aid facilities on the premises
- Make sure all staff members are aware who the first aid facilitators are, and where to find first aid facilities
Test your emergency evacuation procedures
Having regular drills is the best way to tell if your procedures are operating correctly, rather than waiting till you’re in an unfortunate situation. Here’s why:
- Drills train people in a realistic emergency setting, helping them feel more comfortable in the event of a true high risk event. This can keep panic to a minimum if there is real danger
- Drills help improve your emergency procedures altogether, allowing you to pick up on missing elements, or ways to improve procedures that you may not have otherwise noticed.