Published December 8th, 2020
What is an Emergency Action Plan?
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a comprehensive documentation of procedures based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency standards. Organizations with more than 10 employees should develop, implement, and update their emergency action plan to facilitate and organize their actions during workplace emergencies such as severe weather, extended power loss, pandemic, and more.
This article will briefly discuss the following:
- An overview of a typical emergency action plan template
- The importance of workplace emergency action plan and why it should be updated regularly
- How to put an EAP into action
- A training tool to get ahead in the event of workplace emergencies
- Free emergency action plan templates you can download, customize, and use
An emergency action plan template is a digital tool used by safety and health managers of large enterprises or owners of small to medium businesses to record their guidelines for workplace emergencies. According to the federal regulations for occupational safety and health standards, here are the minimum elements of an emergency action plan:
- Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency
- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
- Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
- Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
- The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan
An emergency action plan is vital for every organization to prepare and execute emergency protocols and procedures. It helps the organization to eliminate confusion, injury, or property damage in case of a workplace emergency.
Updating workplace emergency action plan is not only crucial for proper guidance during operational emergencies, but it can also keep revealing unrecognized hazardous conditions that may worsen an emergency situation, allowing safety and health professionals to apply preventive measures. Moreover, an outdated emergency action plan can lead to devastating losses such as multiple casualties and the financial downfall of an organization.
Since emergencies in the workplace will occur, safety and health managers should make sure that every worker is prepared to respond accordingly. Follow these simple ways to inculcate the practice of an emergency action plan in an organization:
Develop or update the emergency action plan with a cross-functional team
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends that relevant individuals such as employees with the knowledge of the work, employees with experience in investigations, and representatives from the local government should participate in establishing or reviewing emergency procedures. Working with a cross-functional team helps make the emergency action plan be more all-encompassing, accurate, and aligned with reality.
Perform announced or unannounced emergency drills
With an EAP in place, the designated responsible official should conduct an organization-wide emergency drill to determine how effective the plan is carried out. Announced emergency drills remind emergency coordinators to review the emergency action plan, while unannounced emergency drills demonstrate how they understand what to do at the onset of emergencies. For future reference, use an emergency drill checklist to record what happened in real-time.
Assess performance against procedures in the emergency action plan
Upon completing emergency drills, gather a cross-functional team to look analyze the results. Determine the root cause of misalignment between performance and procedures, and exchange ideas about what can be done to maintain a high level of proficiency. The OSHA EAP template contains 21 critical questions to help assess the effectiveness of an emergency action plan.
Communicate best practices, areas of improvement, and changes to be applied
Positive reinforcement makes it easier for employees to keep doing what they did right. The designated responsible official and emergency coordinators should call out best practices such as remembering to deal with the spill in accordance with the instructions described in the material safety data sheet, if the emergency drill was a chemical spill. Changes to be applied for areas of improvement should be partnered with proper training to sustain retention better.
Put an EAP into action regularly
OSHA advises annual emergency drills for the effective implementation of an emergency action plan. SafetyCulture suggests putting an emergency action plan to the test periodically (e.g. quarterly for organizations in high-risk industries such as construction and manufacturing or biannually for organizations in medium to low-risk industries such as retail and hospitality) to create and continuously build a proactive safety culture in the workplace.
Documenting emergency procedures with pen-and-paper can be challenging as it requires demonstrable efforts for developing, implementing, and updating your emergency action plan. With iAuditor by SafetyCulture, the world’s leading inspection platform, you can empower emergency coordinators with a training and preventive action tool that helps them do the following:
- Facilitate and organize emergency actions with confidence, aligning employee performance with emergency procedures.
- Take pictures of emergency reporting and evacuation procedures, notify your staff, and instantly document changes to be applied.
- Upload annotated images of best practices or areas of improvement during emergency drills for improved visual reference.
- Save crucial data in iAuditor’s secure cloud storage and easily recover them when reviewing or updating emergency action plan templates.
- Worry less on complying with OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements and easily access up-to-date files through iAuditor’s electronic storage.
Featured Emergency Action Plan Templates
Emergency Action Plan Template
An emergency action plan template is used by designated responsible officials or emergency coordinators to develop procedures for workplace emergencies and test its effectiveness during emergency drills. Use this template to automatically generate and share your EAP with emergency personnel names and phone numbers, emergency phone numbers, utility company emergency contacts, emergency reporting and evacuation procedures, and training.
OSHA Emergency Action Plan Template
The OSHA Emergency Action Plan template is used as a self-assessment tool for organizations to evaluate their emergency action plan and improve it accordingly. This template covers general issues, evacuation policy and procedures, reporting emergencies and alerting employees in an emergency, and employee training and drills. Assign an action with a priority level and due date for every item marked with no or not sure to instantly apply corrections.
Emergency Action Plan Checklist
This emergency action plan checklist is used by a provider of highly-engineered support structures for a wide variety of industries, including electric transmission and distribution, wireless communications, renewable energy, oil and gas, and government defense to audit their emergency action plan. This checklist encompasses emergency procedures for exit doors, egress, fire protection, combustible and flammable materials, and general work environment.
This EAP template is used by one of the premier electrical contractors in the United States to create an emergency action plan for every project. This template includes emergency procedures for assembly points, evacuation routes, alarm system, and training requirements. Use iAuditor’s drag-and-drop template editor to customize this EAP template to fulfill your business needs.
Emergency Action Plan Form
This Emergency Action Plan form is used to facilitate and organize employer and employee’s actions during workplace emergencies. It has been created to verify the emergency action plan was understood by all employees.