Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.19. The organisational emergency plan – emergency escape routes, assembly points and refuge bays in the work area

ryanrori February 8, 2021

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Before deciding upon emergency escape routes, assembly points and refuge bays in the work area an emergency action plan must be developed. A risk assessment will be helpful in the determination of possible hazards and will be helpful to assess the risks in order to match specific risks to specific control measures.

Factors that must be included in a emergency plan are:

  • Emergency evacuation procedures detailing action to be taken by designated people in the event of a major incident.
  • Emergency medical measures.
  • Safety information displayed for all to see. 
  • Control of customers, staff and service providers 
  • Availability of ablution facilities, refuse removal, water and lighting.
  • Proactive and reactive fire management measures
  • Access and exit control.

Everyone in the workplace should know what to do and what is expected of them. Every workplace should have documented and explained emergency and accident procedures; for example, every workplace should have an evacuation plan in case of fire or chemical spills.

Such a plan should include:

  • the location of fire extinguishers and fire hoses 
  • emergency exits 
  • evacuation procedures 
  • assembly points for staff and others.

The emergency plan(s) should outline the actions to be taken when specified emergency situations arise, and should include:

  • Identification of potential accidents and emergencies
  • Identification of the person who will take charge during the emergency
  • Details of actions to be taken by personnel during an emergency, including those actions to be taken by external personnel who are on the site of the emergency, such as contractors or visitors (who may be required, for example, to move to specified assembly points)
  • Responsibility, authority and duties of personnel with specific roles during the emergency (e.g. fire-wardens, first-aid staff, nuclear leak/toxic spillage specialists, etc.)
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Identification and location of hazardous materials, and emergency action required
  • Interface with external emergency services
  • Communication with statutory bodies
  • Communication with neighbours and the public
  • Protection of vital records and equipment
  • Availability of necessary information during the emergency, e.g. Plant layout drawings, hazardous material data, procedures, work instructions and contact telephone numbers.
  • Details of refuge stations/bays- special places provided for use in  emergencies and where employees can shelter until it is either safe to escape or until they are rescued

Six requirements your company’s emergency exits and escape routes must meet

Every office should have an alternative emergency escape route. For example, if your building collapses, customers and employees must have another means of escape.https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRX4BPkTssVZVats-jACtw_WbZhoeq5kvbmpAreGwdzeVgqsaqa

  • Emergency escape routes and exits must have clear emergency signage to help your employees escape
  • Clearly mark your emergency escape routes and exits on your floor plans. Post these floor plans in toilets, at the lift and staircase foyers. Employees and visitors must understand and become familiar with your company floor plans
  • Each floor plan must include the names and phone numbers of the evacuation warden, a first aider and a fire fighter
  • If your company has lifts, ensure you have clear instructions for employees not to use them if there’s a fire or a bomb threat. Your company’s emergency exit doors must always be unlocked and must open outwards.
  • If you have a small building and must lock the door to prevent burglaries, ensure there’s a way to open the door in an emergency and all employees must know how to do this. Do this by providing:
  • Break-glass key boxes at the emergency exits with keys to the door;
  • Spring-loaded latches with a glass tube that has to be broken to release the latch;
  • Doors fitted with an alarm that sounds when the door is opened; and
  • Electronically controlled doors that are automatically unlocked when the emergency alarm is sounded

If your company’s emergency exits and escape routes meet these National Building Regulation requirements, you’ll be in a better position to reduce the health and safety risks of your employees during emergencies