Does Your Job Have an Emergency Action Plan?
By Limus Woods
What if you were obligated to stay behind during an emergency or disaster while everyone else skedaddled? An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) covers specific movements employers and employees must make to guarantee employee safety during emergencies. If all employees know their role in an EAP it’ll result in less injuries when the time comes to evacuate.
I lived and worked in the Palmetto State for a long time, but I was lucky enough to not every get seriously injured on the job, or ever have to evacuate the premises of any of the restaurants, hotels, or stores where I worked during the years. Still, it was good to know that most of the places where I did work had EAP’s. In fact, in most establishments where there are a certain number of employees, these types of plans are mandatory. According to “Prepare, Prevent, Protect South Carolina”, a workplace security guide, “Employees must be sure that they know what is expected of them in all such emergency possibilities that have been planned in order to provide assurance of their safety from fire or other emergency”.
Still, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards say that some companies aren’t required to have a written EAP. If there are ten or less employees for example, the plan only has to be presented orally to their staff.
At a minimum, an EAP must include
- A way to report fires and emergencies.
- Evacuation procedures and escape route assignments
- Methods for the employees who stay behind to carry on with crucial plant operations before they leave.
- Accountability procedures after the evacuation.
- Medical responsibilities for certain employees.
- Contact info of employees who can assist if they aren’t physically there during the emergency.
Not many people think clearly during a crisis, so it’s better to prepare in advance by having an EAP. If your employer does not, it would behoove you to inquire why they don’t.