Work Place Emergencies – how well are you prepared?

We live in very exciting times.

Technology has improved our lives for the better – generally speaking.

We continue to find new and improved medical solutions to many health-related issues.

Social media has enabled us connect and re-connect with family and friends.

And our multi-cultural society provides us with a rich tapestry of experiences.

While for most of the part, we enjoy a safe and healthy lifestyle, there are situations and events in our society that can threaten our livelihood – and for the most part, these may be beyond our control.

And generally, we individually take great caution to ensure we don’t place ourselves in harm’s way, there are times in our day to day existence where we rely upon others to ensure our health and safety.

One in particular is our workplace.

As employees, we expect our employers to do their best to ensure our safety and wellbeing – when we leave home for work in the morning, we also don’t think twice about safely returning home at the end of the work day – it’s a given.

As employers, you have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy workplace – equally, your job is to ensure your employees leave the workplace with their well being intact.

A decade or so ago, probably the largest threat in the work place was a fire or possibly a toxic/chemical spill if you worked in such an area (chemical plant, oil/gas etc).

Today however, the list of potential life-threatening emergencies has grown considerably.

Consider the following potential work-place emergencies that are a real possibility today;

  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Corrosive or toxic gasses and vapours
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Extreme weather (storms, hurricanes, tornados)
  • Terrorism
  • Mass shootings
  • Nuclear
  • Contagions (bio-hazard)
  • Civil disturbances/riots

The list could go on – but you get the point.

 How well is your work place prepared?

Given this list of potential work places issues, it’s then critical that businesses develop and implement emergency action plans to ensure they and their staff know what to do if faced with any these emergencies.

What is an emergency action plan?

An emergency action plan describes the specific actions employers and employees must take to ensure safety from any real and identified emergencies.

And simply ‘telling’ people what they ‘should’ do in an emergency is not enough.  Work Health and Safety regulations stipulate that emergency action plans must be in writing and kept in the work place and available for all to review.

What does an emergency plan contain?

At the very least, your work place emergency plan needs to contain the following elements;

  • emergency procedures including an effective response to an emergency
  • evacuation procedures
  • notifying emergency service organisations at the earliest opportunity
  • medical treatment and assistance
  • effective communications
  • testing of the emergency procedures including the frequency of testing
  • information, training and instruction to relevant employees in relation to implementing the emergency procedures.

Developing and implementing a work place emergency action plan is not a one time ‘set and forget’ exercise.

The plans must be reviewed regularly to ensure for validity, relevancy and effectiveness – often work place changes will require you to revisit the plan and amend it to take into account any changes.

As the old saying goes – failing to plan is planning to fail – be one step ahead!

For a no obligation consultation, call Safety Services Australia on +61 22 9634 5912.