A Note from the Director

| OSHA, USF Safety Florida

Dear Reader,

My heart goes out to all the individuals impacted by recent tragedies. As a safety professional, these events serve as a stark reminder of how quickly stable environments can be transformed into danger zones and how important it is to have an established emergency action plan that employees, patrons, and the general public can rely on. First responders typically have ways to protect their workers from foreseeable emergencies, however, they too can be overwhelmed during emergencies or disasters due to factors such as severity, geographic area, and/or personnel needed for the response. Workplace emergencies rarely provide advance warning. Having a plan in place before an emergency will increase the survival odds of your workforce and your business when unexpected dangers arise.

An emergency action plan (EAP) is useful in organizing employer and worker actions during workplace emergencies. OSHA not only recommends; but requires all employers covered by standards 29 CFR 1910.38(a) and 29 CFR 1926.35 to have one. For smaller organizations with ten (10) or fewer employees, the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally.

Additionally, emergency action plans should contain the following:

  • A preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies
  • An evacuation policy and procedure.
  • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as floor plans, workplace maps, and safe or refuge areas.
  • Names, titles, departments, and telephone numbers of individuals both within and outside the company to contact for additional information or explanation of duties and responsibilities under the emergency plan.
  • Procedures to account for all workers after an evacuation, such as designating an assembly location (e.g., a safe/refuge area).
  • Procedures for workers who remain to perform or shut down critical plant operations, operate fire extinguishers or perform other essential services that cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm before evacuating.
  • Rescue and medical duties for any workers designated to perform them.

Developing a comprehensive emergency action plan involves conducting a detailed hazard assessment to determine what, if any, physical, chemical, or biological hazards at your worksite could cause an emergency. The USF SafetyFlorida Consultation Program is here to help. Our organization has provided free, confidential compliance assistance to thousands of Florida’s small employers for over 20 years and remains committed to helping employers create safer workplaces throughout the state. Our consultants hold over 150 years of combined occupational health and safety leadership experience from a variety of industries such as private manufacturing, construction, mining, and government and can help you create an emergency action plan that your business can depend on. To request a confidential, no-cost consultation, please visit https://www.tfaforms.com/4696809 or call toll-free (866) 273-1105.

Stay Safe,

Dr. Brian L. Warrick, PhD, CSP, CIH
Program Director
USF SafetyFlorida