9 March 2019
Safety Technology: Forum 2
In any organization which has 10 or more employees, a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) must be available in the workplace and be accessible to all workers for review according to OSHA 1910.38. In this regard, the EAP of ABC Company will be reviewed in light of the Hazard and Risk Management Assessment (HRMA) to suggest improvements in mitigating natural, technological and human-caused hazards.
The EAP has defined a number of preventive and reactive measures for employee safety with regards to alarms, fires, bombs, and emergency evacuation. However, other forms of natural and technological hazards such as chemical spills, severe weather have been left unaddressed. Moreover, some of the suggested measures require improvement to cover other threats within the same domain or to minimize risks further.
In subpart C emergency evacuation, the EAP should also include measures regarding evacuation route maps. These evacuation maps should have the following information marked: Secondary and Primary evacuation routes, emergency exits, the location of fire alarm pull stations, locations of fire extinguishers, and points of assembly. Two evacuation routes must be created that should be known by all site personnel.
In the case of fire (subpart D), the EAP should also provide clear instructions to employees when to fight the fire themselves. Attempting to fight a fire must only be initiated after the fire department is notified. Moreover, the fire should not be spreading and be relatively small. An area of escape should be well-known while the personnel should be trained to use fire extinguishing equipment which should be in good working conditions. Moreover, after notifying the fire department, the emergency coordinators must try to disconnect equipment and utilities unless there is a risk to his safety. They should make a personnel headcount and coordinate evacuation in an orderly manner. Furthermore, they should assist any employees that are physically challenged while evacuating.
In the case of Bomb threats (subpart D) when employees are given bomb threats, additional measures in the EAP should include guidelines on talking to the caller. This can include pretending to have difficulty hearing, and see whether the caller is showing agreement. In this case, they should also ask and note down the time it will go off, and its location. Further questions that can be asked from the caller include, what kind of package it is, and how do they know so much about the bomb. The caller should be informed that detonation may lead to death or injury. After the call, a malicious call trace should be attempted for the line. Moreover, it should be checked whether the caller showed familiarization with the building or the plant.
A new section on chemical spills should be added to the EAP. Employees should be required to mention the locations of the spill containment, the PPE, the MSDS, and the security equipment. In the case when the chemical spill is large, employees should notify the emergency coordinator, and try to use available equipment to contain the spill. Other site personnel should be alerted, and the area should be secured. The spill should not be cleaned unless prior training is given. Furthermore, the spill cleanup company should be called to perform the cleanup, and all of their details such as names, contact, nature of spill should be noted. In the case of a small spill where toxic fumes are present, the area should be secured with caution tapes, and the MSDS should be used to deal with the spill while wearing proper PPE.
Another section to be added to the EAP is related to natural disasters. In case of a tornado, employees should be instructed to seek inside shelter on the lowest floors, when the warning has been issued. The shelter should not have windows and be away from doors. It should be reinforced with concrete. In the case of an earthquake, employees should be instructed to stay calm and keep away from windows, electrical circuits, windows, and overhead fixtures. People with disabilities should be assisted in reaching a safe place. In a hurricane, when the warning has been issued, move personnel out from low-lying or coastal areas. Radio and TV stations should be monitored for instructions, while any personnel on higher ground should be instructed to stay and wait and move necessary equipment inside buildings while sealing openings and windows. Await instructions from the emergency instructors while ensuring that food and drink supplies are available. Further care should be exercised to keep the body warm, such as building a fire and wearing warm clothes. It is also to be ensured that the exhaust pipes in shelters are not blocked.
These recommendations will further improve ABC Company’s EAP and improve workers’ safety in case of natural, man-made and technological hazards that were not adequately addressed in the existing EAP.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OSHA. Evacuation Plans and Procedures. 2019. 9 March 2019. <https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/eap.html>.
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