Being presented with a circumstance that requires you and your employees to leave your building, office, factory, school, restaurant or other place of business is obviously an extremely stressful situation.
Not only are your thoughts racing for the welfare of your employees but also for the well-being of your business. Combining these two concerns with no prior consideration or planning is a recipe for disaster. Being unprepared can easily lead to avoidable injury, greater loss of equipment and property, increased danger and even death to those that rely on you and your business. This is why such activity such as evacuation needs to be well discussed, understood by all and even practiced prior to an incident ever occurring.
“It’s much easier to prepare for an emergency than to have to explain why you didn’t.”
Although OSHA standards require an EAP (emergency action plan) for all organizations, smaller organizations (under 10 employees) can communicate their EAP verbally rather than in a written version.
The plan is really just the organization of common sense activities that would need to be accomplished and items that would need to be aquired in case of emergency. To establish the plan or ground rules and make sure everyone clearly understands them is really an easy process. For a fill-in-the-blanks template, you can use the OSHA etool found in the evacuation section of www.OSHA.gov.
Here are some ideas to consider and delegate:
- Assign people the responsibility to report the emergency to the proper authorities. Make sure the contact information is readily available.
- Determine who is responsible for accounting for all employees on site at the time of the incident and leading them out of the facility to a pre-determined spot.
- Set the ground rules for who, if anyone, has authority to remain behind when an evacuation has been called.
- Predetermine all items needed for any type of event and make them readily available on site. Relying on just in time ordering of required products will not be successful.
- Determine who is responsible for distributing any preparedness products or kits that have been assembled to support your people. All of these products both standard or custom are available at Quill.com.
- Understand what has to be done to assist any employees with special needs.
- Assign which people, if any, are approved to administer first aid procedures.
- Make sure that all required contact information is easily accessible so recovery operations can begin immediately.
- Practice the evaluation. If not physically, then with a complete work force talk through.
- Make sure that more than one person is assigned to each responsibility so there are no gaps when employees are out of the office.
Fortunately, most emergency events call for the same types of actions and products to react to them. Water, portable lighting, cell phone chargers, rainwear, emergency blankets, whistles and battery-operated radios are all items needed when dealing with everything from fires to earthquakes. Quill has the products to help you get prepared and into compliance.
Staples® National Sales Manager, Safety