Emergency Response Planning (ERP)
An Emergency Plan seeks to minimise the effect of unplanned incidents on people, facilities and the organisation as a whole.
The Australian Standard AS3745: Planning For Emergencies in Facilites, defines the elements that are required for an effective response to an emergency event. Other directives include Emergency Planning for Health Care Facilites and for Hazardous Facilities. A common feature of these requirements is the timely application of defined procedures by people with adequate training and resources to minimise the impact on people, the environment and the organisation. For this to occur, plans and procedures specific to relevant organisational activities at facilities, must be developed, documented and tested. Site Emergency Plans must be appropriate to the hazards and risks of a facility and specific to that facility. An emergency plan may also be aimed at limiting or managing the effects of consequences on property or the environment.
All States via the WHS and various Fire, Emergency and Planning Legislation, require emergency procedures to be in place that will be effective in responding to and managing incidents when they occur. Areas such as evacuation procedures, first aid equipment, rescue and hazard specific responses, skills, co-ordination and communication all need to be considered.
There are many different emergencies to plan for in organisations depending on the size, location and industry. They can include risks such as fire, explosion, medical emergency, rescues, incidents with hazardous chemicals, bomb threats, armed confrontations, intruders and natural disasters.
The emergency plan should be based on a practical assessment of hazards associated with the work activity, workplace and organisation. It will identify the triggers and the possible consequences of an emergency occurring as a result of those hazards. External hazards should also be considered in preparing an emergency plan, for example neighbouring facilities, proximity to high risk infrastructure or high risk targets.
Emergency plans do not need to be lengthy or complex. They should be easy to understand and tailored to the specific workplace where they apply. In preparing an emergency plan, all relevant matters need to be considered including:
- the nature of the work being carried out at the workplace;
- the nature of the hazards at the workplace;
- the size and location of the workplace, for example, remoteness, proximity to health services; and
- the number and composition of the workers. For example, employees, contractors, and other persons at the workplace, such as visitors.
Special consideration may need to be provided for workers who travel for work, work alone or in remote locations.
An emergency management plan provides written documentation of the emergency arrangements for your organisation. A well-developed EMP includes preparedness, prevention and response strategies, agreed emergency roles, responsibilities and a site specific risk assessment.
An emergency plan may include practical information for workers such as contact details for key personnel, contact details for local emergency services, a description of how people will be alerted to an emergency ie siren or bell, evacuation procedures including assistance for the mobility impaired, a map of the workplace illustrating emergency exists, fire protection equipment and assembly points, processes for advising neighbouring businesses about emergency and the post incident follow up process.
Higher-risk workplaces may require additional information in their emergency plans such as workplaces with confined spaces and use of fall arrest harness systems, major hazards facilities, construction sites, mines and workplaces that store or handle hazardous chemicals.
Emergency plans should be readily accessible by workers or on display in the workplace, for example on a notice board.
Training & Testing
The testing of emergency plans and business continuity arrangements is essential to validate their effectiveness, to train participants and to meet legislative compliance requirements.
Incidents can have an effect on people, the community, the environment, clients and the organisation. Depending on the seriousness of the incident these effects can be wide ranging or localised or can be short term or long term. They may cause minor disruption or can result in major impacts.
The planning undertaken in the Business Continuity phase enables prepared business to respond, sustain business operations and to recover to a normal operating state more quickly.
At Safety Management Solutions, safeguarding your business, is our business. If you have any questions relating to Incident and Emergency Planning, developing Emergency Plans, testing the effectiveness of your emergency planning procedures or simply have a question, then call us now or complete our online form and we will be in touch within one business day.