We all have to be prepared for an emergency event on a worksite or in the office. The safety of employees and employers depends on it. Emergency evacuation planning can be quite complex but with qualified and professional guidance the results may be, ultimately, the preservation of life and property.
Australian Standard 3745-2010 is a great guide designed for emergency planning. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) and the Emergency Control organisation. Whose responsibility it is to plan, respond and help recover from an incident. Filling the gap between the incident happening and the emergency services arriving.
Who should be involved in emergency planning
It is the legislative responsibility of employers to have a plan in place. This should be developed with the employees who may be affected by an emergency. It must be kept current and periodically reviewed by everyone involved.
Plans must include the identification of emergencies and how to deal with them. Facility response procedures, training and fire protection requirements. In addition, alarm and first aid requirement with a list of designated responders to help coordinate rescue and evacuation. Plus many other features.
Building confidence among designated workers.
There must be regularly simulated emergency scenario exercises which help with succession planning and building confidence among employees. Mentoring employees during these emergency evacuation exercises also form a part of learning the systems processes. So everyone knows and practices the correct response.
In an emergency, the designated person who is the first on-scene is charged with many responsibilities. He or she must assess the situation and determine the actions required. Alerting others to the danger and sounding the alarm so emergency evacuation is rapid and thorough. Calling emergency services and generally activating the response plan.
To facilitate a continued rapid response it is helpful to have an employee meet with the emergency services and direct them to where they are needed most. Fire wardens can extinguish fires if it is safe to do so and they have the confidence to operate suppression equipment. This could be done in conjunction with fire wardens responsible for isolating services.
Headcounts during an emergency evacuation
Designated fire wardens are to make certain everyone is accounted for. For this reason, it is important that employees sign in when attending work and sign out when leaving. If this isn’t done emergency responders could be placed at risk needlessly.
In Australia, the emergency services must give the ok for employees to re-enter the building after an emergency evacuation.
On large construction sites and around mine sites the assembly area could change regularly so its the worker’s responsibility to remain updated. If you don’t know where they have moved to don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor.
Some complexes have a windsock to determine wind direction so employees can remain upwind of gas clouds or out of smoke during fires. Trees and other vegetation can also provide this service.
An informed and safe workforce with a concern for each other and training for emergency evacuation and response is critical to the health and safety of every worker on a construction project or worksite.