Emergency preparedness training is important because it helps people to be better prepared for emergency situations. Every day many of us wake up, travel to work and spend most of our time focused on our daily work routine, but every so often the unexpected happens. Nobody expects an emergency or disaster, especially one that personally affects them, their colleagues, visitors or business.
The simple truth is that emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. In order to protect ourselves and minimize the consequences, we must develop and practise a well thought out safety management plan.
Types of health and safety emergencies that can occur in the workplace
Examples of emergencies include, but are not limited to the below examples:
- Fire – any type of fire that happens at the workplace
- Medical Emergencies – an employee that gets injured, someone having a heart attack
- Gas Leaks – LPG or any other gas leaking
- Hazardous chemical spillages – spillage of any hazardous chemical
- Explosions – any form of explosion
- Floods – due to excessive rainfall
- Adverse weather conditions – tornados, earthquakes etc
- Terrorism – bomb scare, hostage situation
In order for the employer and his employees to be prepared to deal with most types of emergencies you will need to have developed, tried and tested a safety management plan. This plan should not only be simple and easy to execute, but also be communicated with all employees, contractors and visitors.
The importance of emergency preparedness training and emergency plans
Emergency preparedness is essential to ensure the health & safety of the employer, his employees and visitors. Do you, the employer or your employees know what to do as and when these emergencies occur at your workplace? As workplace emergencies can occur at any given time, and they normally do when we least expect them, we need to be prepared to handle the workplace emergency. Being prepared for an emergency will make sure that everyone in the working environment will know what to do during an emergency situation. The safety management plan will form part of the organization’s safety policy.
The purpose of a safety management or workplace emergency plan
The main purpose of our safety management or workplace emergency plan is to make sure that everyone knows what to do as and when an emergency situation occurs at the workplace. The safety management or workplace emergency plan should include the following:
- Emergency notification systems: How will the emergency be communicated to everyone in the workplace – electrical fire alarm, manual call points, loud & clear device, PA system.
- Chain of command: who will be responsible for executing the various components of the safety management plan.
- Evacuation routes: clearly marked and unobstructed emergency evacuation routes should be identified and communicated to all employees.
- Emergency team members: trained and competent team members in the following disciplines:
- First aiders
- Fire wardens
- Health and safety representatives
- Evacuation leaders
- Local emergency services
- Emergency equipment: the emergency equipment that will be required for an emergency situation:
- First aid equipment
- Fire extinguishers
- Emergency and directional signage
- Evacuation floor plans
- Designated assembly areas: a designated area where everyone will assemble after evacuating the workplace where a roll call will be taken to ensure that everyone has been safely evacuated from the workplace.
The importance for both employees and employers
It is all good and well to have the “perfect” safety management plan/workplace emergency plan, but not putting it in practice. For the employer, his employees are his most valuable asset along with the workplace and all his assets.
The most important aspect is to develop the plan as part of your safety policy, put the plan in place, communicate the plan to everyone and PRACTICE the plan. Part of communication of the plan is to have regular safety topics meetings / toolbox talk sessions where employees are reminded of their roles and responsibilities in terms of health and safety as well as general safety in the workplace.
When practicing the plan, the employer will know where the plan might need to be improved, and all employees will know how to look after themselves and the organisation, as and when an emergency occurs at the workplace.
Every workplace should place a high emphasis on emergency preparedness as today, workplace emergencies have become much more of a reality. Both the employer and employees have certain responsibilities in working together in drafting, implementing, communicating, and practising emergency preparedness.
Absolute Health Services are able to assist both the employer and employees in becoming compliant in emergency preparedness. We can assist the employer in drafting the appropriate emergency preparedness plans, as well as providing safety management courses to the various employees that form part of the emergency response team.
ALWAYS REMEMBER PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, the more we practice for workplace emergencies the more we will be prepared for when they do happen.