By Chris McGrath
Health and Safety Law require workplaces to plan for emergencies.
Workplaces should carry out risk assessments that should identify foreseeable emergency events, the main risk as regards emergency situations is that of fire, but some workplaces may identify spills, gas leaks as foreseeable events.
Workplaces will then need to develop appropriate procedures for serious and imminent danger including danger areas.
People are more likely to respond reliably if they:
- are well trained and competent
- take part in regular and realistic practice, like a practice drill
- have clearly agreed, recorded and rehearsed plans, actions and responsibilities
Planning for an emergency helps you to:
- Minimise the time taken for the emergency services to reach you
- Minimise the risk to people if there is an emergency
- Include environmental and other emergencies in your plan.
Points to include in emergency procedures:
- Consider what might happen and how the alarm will be raised. Don’t forget night and shift working, weekends and times when the premises are closed, eg holidays
- Plan what to do, including how to call the emergency services.
- Decide where to go to reach a place of safety or to get rescue equipment.
- Are there enough emergency exits for everyone to escape quickly, keep emergency doors and escape routes unobstructed and clearly marked
- Nominate competent people to take control
- You must train everyone in emergency procedures
- Don’t forget people with disabilities, physical or mental impairments they may need assistance to respond to an emergency
- Where you share your workplace with another employer you should consider whether your emergency plans and procedures should be co-ordinated.