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Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Policies and Procedures

Multiple Policies

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"Stuff happens," so response procedures must be basic.

It may be impossible to provide a one-fits-all plan for all situations. There is no guarantee that a perfect response to disaster emergency incidents will be practical or possible. In fact, "stuff" will happen during an emergency that may have been impossible to foresee or plan for. Therefore, most EAPs address basic emergency planning, response procedures, and evaluation.

At the time of an emergency, employees should know what type of evacuation is necessary and what their role is in carrying out the plan. In some cases where the emergency is very grave, total and immediate evacuation of all employees is necessary. In other emergencies, a partial evacuation of non-essential employees with a delayed evacuation of others may be necessary for continued plant operation. In some cases, only those employees in the immediate area of the fire may be expected to evacuate or move to a safe area such as when a local application fire suppression system discharge employee alarm is sounded. Employees must be sure that they know what is expected of them in all such emergency possibilities which have been planned in order to provide assurance of their safety from fire or other emergency.

1. Because "stuff" happens during emergencies, most EAPs address _____ emergency planning, response and evaluation.

a. brief
b. basic
c. specific
d. advanced

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Duties and Responsibilities of the EAP Team

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The EAP may specify different actions for employees depending on the emergency.

The EAP may specify different actions for employees depending on the emergency. For example, employers may want to have employees assemble in one area of the workplace if it is threatened by a tornado or earthquake but evacuate to an exterior location during a fire.

Designate who, if anyone, will stay to shut down critical operations during an evacuation.

You may want to include in your plan locations where utilities (such as electrical and gas utilities) can be shut down for all or part of the facility. All individuals remaining behind to shut down critical systems or utilities must be capable of recognizing when to abandon the operation or task and evacuate themselves.

2. What must you know if you're assigned to stay behind to shut down critical systems during an emergency?

a. Who to rescue
b. When to abandon the operation
c. Where to call in the order
d. How to give the "all clear"

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Determine Specific Evacuation Routes and Exits

Exit Routes and More- Federal Safety Solutions

Most employers create maps from floor diagrams with arrows that designate the exit route assignments. These maps should include locations of exits, assembly points and equipment (such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, spill kits) that may be needed in an emergency. Exit routes should be clearly marked and well lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, unobstructed and clear of debris at all times, and unlikely to expose evacuating personnel to additional hazards.

Here are some important requirements to consider:

  • Make exit route design permanent.
  • Ensure the number of exit routes is adequate based on the number of employees, the size of the building, its occupancy, and the arrangement of the workplace.
  • Separate an exit route from other workplace areas with materials that have the proper fire resistance-rating for the number of stories the route connects.
  • Ensure exit routes meet width and height requirements. The width of exit routes must be sufficient to accommodate the maximum permitted occupant load of each floor served by the exit route.
  • Ensure doors used to access exit routes have side hinges and swing in the direction of travel (depending on occupancy and hazard areas).
  • Design exit routes which lead to an outside area with enough space for all occupants.
  • An outdoor exit route is permitted, but may have additional site-specific requirements.

3. During a review of the company's EAP, an OSHA compliance officer cited the employer for failing to comply with an important exit route requirement. Which of the following requirements describes the violation he cited?

a. Exits are wide enough to accommodate all evacuees
b. Exits are kept unobstructed and clear of debris
c. Exits are frequently revised to keep them fresh
d. Exists are clearly marked and well lit

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Determine Specific Evacuation Routes and Exits (Continued)

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Here are some more important requirements to consider when developing effective evacuation:

  • Maintain the fire-retardant properties of paints and solutions that are used in exit routes.
  • Ensure required exit routes and fire protections are available and maintained, especially during repairs and alterations.
  • Ensure employee alarm systems are installed, operable, and in compliance with 29 CFR 1910.165 (Note: See Section I.A.5.).
  • Direct employees through exit routes using clearly visible signs. These signs must meet the required letter height and illumination specifications.
  • When openings could be mistaken for an exit, post appropriate signs stating "NOT AN EXIT."
  • Arrange exit routes so employees are not exposed to the dangers of high hazard areas.
  • Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. Prevent obstructions, such as decorations, furnishings, locked doorways, and dead-ends within exit routes.

Check out this short audio clip by Dan Clark of the theSafetyBrief.com that gives a good overview of exit route requirements.

4. What action should be taken if an opening could be mistaken for an exit?

a. Post a yellow arrow pointing to exit
b. Post a guard to redirect employees
c. Post a "USE OTHER DOOR" sign
d. Post a "NOT AN EXIT" sign

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Assisting People During Evacuations

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Employees designated to assist in emergencies should be made aware of employees with special needs.

Employees designated to assist in emergency evacuation procedures should be trained in the complete workplace layout and various alternative escape routes.

Employees designated to assist in emergencies should be made aware of employees with special needs (who may require extra assistance during an evacuation), how to use the buddy system, and any hazardous areas to avoid during an emergency evacuation.

If there are any employees with special needs at your worksite it will be important to be aware of their needs once evacuated. You may want to consider evacuating all special needs employees to the same location if possible. At the very least consider whether the designated evacuation area is suitable to meet the needs of any special needs employees while an emergency is being addressed.

5. Employees designated to assist in emergency evacuation procedures should _____.

a. get certified as a qualified evacuator
b. be identified by EAP wardens
c. be trained on using the "buddy system"
d. always carry emergency phones

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Accounting for all Employees

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Accounting for all employees following an evacuation is critical.

Accounting for all employees following an evacuation is critical. Confusion in the assembly areas can lead to delays in rescuing anyone trapped in the building, or unnecessary and dangerous search-and-rescue operations. To ensure the fastest, most accurate accounting of your employees, consider taking a head count after the evacuation. The names and last known locations of anyone not accounted for should be passed on to the official in charge.

Accounting for Visitors

Some employers have all visitors and contractors sign in when entering the workplace. The hosts and/or area wardens, if established, are often tasked with assisting these individuals evacuate safely.

6. What action should be taken to ensure the fastest, most accurate accounting of your employees after an evacuation?

a. Arrange everyone in alphabetical order
b. Take a head count of all employees
c. Line everyone up against the wall
d. Recheck workstations for others

Check your Work

Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.

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Sample Emergency Action Plan (EAP) Procedures

Staff Evacuation Procedures

When evacuation alarm sounds or you are directed to evacuate the facility:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Shut down all hazardous operations.
  3. Follow instructions.
  4. Assist disabled persons.
  5. Leave the area in an orderly fashion. Close doors, but do not lock.
  6. Follow established evacuation routes.
  7. Move away from the structure. Go directly to the assembly area (map provided with plan). Report to the Evacuation Coordinator for a head count.
  8. Do not block the street or driveway.
  9. Stay at the assembly area until instructed otherwise.

Fire

In case of a fire:
  1. Remain calm.
  2. Contact the Fire Department.
  3. If the fire is small, try to extinguish it with the proper type of extinguisher or other method. Do not jeopardize personal safety.
  4. Do not allow the fire to come between you and the exit.
  5. Disconnect electrical equipment if it is on fire and it is safe to do so.
  6. Notify the supervisor and evacuation coordinator, if possible.
  7. Evacuate if you can not extinguish the fire. Assist disabled persons.
  8. Do not break windows.
  9. Do not open a hot door. (Before opening a door, touch it near the top. If it is hot or if smoke is visible, do not open.)
  10. Do not use elevators.
  11. Do not attempt to save possessions.
  12. Go directly to the assembly area.
  13. Do not return to the affected area until told to by appropriate authorities.
  14. Do not spread rumors.

Severe Storms

(These first procedures apply to thunderstorms, tornados, hurricanes, etc.)

In the event of a severe storm watch within the surrounding area:

  1. Listen to the local radio/TV or NOAA Weather Radio for instructions.
  2. Plan ahead before the storm arrives.
  3. Tie down loose items located outside or move them indoors.
  4. Open windows slightly, time permitting, on the side away from the direction of the storm's approach.
  5. Check battery-powered equipment and back-up power sources.
  6. Fill vehicles with gas.

In the event of a severe storm warning within the surrounding area:

  1. Disconnect electrical equipment and appliances not required for emergency use.
  2. Do not use telephone except for an emergency or absolutely essential business.
  3. Store drinking water in clean containers (e.g., jugs, bottles, sinks).
  4. Avoid structures with wide span roofs (e.g., gymnasium).
  5. Otherwise, take cover.

Hurricane Warning

  1. Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters or tape. Some should be left slightly open to equalize the pressure.
  2. Leave low-lying areas that may be swept by high tides or storm waves.
  3. Stay in the building if it is sturdy and on high ground. If not -- and especially if local authorities order an evacuation -- move to a designated shelter.
  4. Remain indoors. Don't be fooled by the calmness of the eye. Remember, the winds on the other side of the eye will come from the opposite direction.

Hurricane Evacuation:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • If transportation is provided by local authorities, use it
  • If you must walk or drive to another location:
  • Leave early enough so as not to be marooned,
  • If driving, ensure there is sufficient gas,
  • Use recommended routes rather than trying to find short-cuts, and
  • Go to a designated location -- don't go anywhere else.

Tornado Warning

  1. Go to the basement, if available, or an interior hallway.
  2. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway.
  3. Do not remain inside a vehicle. As a last resort, and if no ditch or ravine is nearby, crawl under the vehicle.
  4. If in open country and time permits, locate suitable shelter. If not, lie in the nearest ditch or ravine. Be alert for flash floods.

Winter Storms

If a winter storm warning is issued for the area:

If at work

  • Listen to the local radio/TV for weather advisories and official permission to go home early.
  • Plan ahead before the storm arrives.
  • Move indoors any items located outside which might be damaged by the storm or become hazardous during high winds.
  • Check all battery-powered equipment and back-up power sources.
  • Fill vehicle gas tanks.
  • If you must travel (business or going home), use public transportation if possible. If not and you must drive:
  • Make sure the vehicle is in good condition, equipped with chains or snow tires, and has a full tank of gas.
  • Take another person with you, if possible.
  • Leave an estimated itinerary (destination and estimated time of arrival) with someone.
  • Have emergency winter storm supplies in the vehicle (e.g., sand, shovel, windshield scraper, tow chain or rope, flashlight, flares. It's also good to have a blanket, heavy gloves, overshoes, extra woolen socks, and winter headgear).
  • Travel by daylight and use major highways, when possible.
  • Keep the radio on for weather information and advice.
  • Don't be daring or foolhardy. Rather than risk being stalled, lost, or isolated, stop, turn back or seek help if conditions threaten to test your ability or endurance.
  • If the vehicle breaks down, or you become lost, or stalled:
  • Don't panic! Think the situation through, and decide the safest and best thing to do. Then do it slowly and carefully.
  • If on a well traveled road, indicate you are in trouble (e.g., hazard flashers, raised hood, hanging cloth from radio aerial or window. Then stay in the car and wait for help to arrive. If you run the engine to keep warm, keep
  • Shovel snow away from the exhaust pipe and keep a window open enough to provide sufficient ventilation.
  • Wherever you are, if there is no house or other source of help in sight, do not leave the car to search for assistance. It is very easy to become disoriented and lost during a severe storm.

If at home

  • Listen to the local radio/TV for weather advisories.
  • Plan ahead before the storm arrives; prepare for possible isolation for a couple of days. Ensure you have on hand or the proper working condition of:
  • Blankets, some kind of emergency heating equipment and adequate supply of fuel
  • Food and water, emergency cooking equipment. (It's better to have some foods that do not require cooking or other preparation);
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries, flashlights/lanterns and extra batteries/fuel; and
  • Simple tools for fire fighting.
  • Move indoors any items located outside which might be damaged by the storm.
  • Fill vehicle gas tanks.
  • Travel only if absolutely necessary and follow precautions shown above

Utility Failure

In the event of a power outage in your area:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Remain where you are and open all available blind/shades/curtains to receive more outside light.
  3. If you are in an unlighted area, go cautiously to an area that has emergency lights.
  4. If telephones are working, call and report the outage.
  5. Wait for further instructions from the authorities.
  6. If directed to evacuate, assist disabled persons and go to the Assembly Area.
  7. If you are in an elevator, stay calm. Use the intercom or emergency button to alert Security or other persons.

In the event of a water line/sewer failure:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Notify utility immediately. Advise them of the severity and location of the problem. Indicate if any objects are in imminent danger.
  3. If during work hours, notify your supervisor of the situation.
  4. Use extreme caution if any electrical appliances/outlets are near the water. Inform Security of the electrical hazard.
  5. If the source of the water is known and you are confident you can stop it safely, (i.e., unclog the drain, turn off water), do so cautiously.
  6. Assist with protecting objects.
  7. If directed to evacuate, assist disabled persons and go to the Assembly Area. Wait for further instructions.

Flood

In case of a flood watch in the area:

  1. Listen to local radio/TV.
  2. Prepare to take immediate precautionary actions.
  3. If driving, watch for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas due to rain not seen by you, but which may be indicated by thunder and lightning.

In case of a flood warning in the area:

  1. Listen to local radio/TV.
  2. Prepare to evacuate upon direction. (Note: If a flash flood warning is issued, get out of the area immediately.)
  3. Assist disabled persons and follow instructions of emergency preparedness personnel.
  4. Check any battery-powered equipment & back-up power sources.
  5. Store drinking water in clean receptacles (e.g., sinks, jugs).
  6. Inventory and move to the upper floors emergency supplies such as food, first aid items, blankets...
  7. Secure all loose objects located outside.
  8. Assist with protecting objects.
  9. Board up windows.
  10. Disconnect utilities which are not absolutely essential.
  11. Fill vehicle gas tank(s).
  12. If driving, know the depth of the water in a dip or low area before crossing.
  13. If vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
  14. Do not try to cross a stream on foot if water is above your knees.
  15. Do not re-enter the affected area until directed by emergency preparedness personnel.
  16. Do not spread rumors.

Hazardous Material Accident

In case of a hazardous material accident at the facility:

  1. Evacuate the immediate area.
  2. Initiate appropriate first aid and/ or other personnel protection measures, as required.
  3. Notify Authorities as soon as possible.
  4. Do not re-enter the affected area until directed by the emergency preparedness personnel.
  5. If trained and properly protected, assist with the clean-up operations, as directed.
  6. Do not spread rumors.

In case of a hazardous materials accident in the local community:

  1. Listen to the local radio/TV.
  2. Follow instructions of the emergency preparedness personnel.
  3. Evacuate when directed. Follow the designated route to the Assembly Area.
  4. Do not re-enter the affected area until directed by emergency preparedness personnel.
  5. Do not spread rumors.

Civil Disorder and Demonstrations

In case of a demonstration or other form of civil disorder within the area:

  1. Notify authorities immediately of any information received, factual or rumored, of a demonstration or other form of civil disorder which is planned or in progress in the vicinity of the facility.
  2. Follow the instructions of building Security and the emergency preparedness personnel.
  3. Assist with protecting objects.
  4. If an explosion occurs, take cover immediately and anticipate there may be others.
  5. Notify Authorities of any potential/actual hazards (e.g., fire, bomb threat) incurred during a threatening situation.
  6. Stay indoors and away from windows unless directed to evacuate by the emergency preparedness personnel.
  7. Evacuate when directed and follow the evacuation procedures included at the beginning of this handbook.
  8. If released from work early, follow instructions of the emergency preparedness personnel and the local authorities.
  9. Do not remain in the vicinity of the disturbance to sightsee.
  10. Do not spread rumors.

Terrorism

Should an act of terrorism occur within the surrounding area:

  1. Fellow the instruction of the Security and emergency preparedness personnel.
  2. If an explosion occurs, take cover immediately and anticipate there may be other explosions.
  3. Notify Authorities of any known hazards (e.g., fire, bomb threat).
  4. Stay indoors and away from windows unless directed to evacuate.
  5. Evacuate when directed and follow procedures included at the beginning of this booklet and any instructions of the Evacuation Coordinators.
  6. If released from work early, follow the instructions of the emergency preparedness personnel.
  7. Do not remain in the vicinity to sightsee.
  8. Do not spread rumors.

Bomb Threat

If you receive a bomb threat telephone call:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Listen carefully. Be polite and show interest.
  3. Try to keep the caller talking to learn more information.
  4. If possible, write a note to a colleague to call the authorities or, as soon as the caller hangs up, immediately notify them yourself.
  5. Complete the attached Bomb Threat Checklist immediately. Write down as much detail as you can remember.
  6. Do not discuss the threat with other staff.
  7. Follow the instructions of the building Security.
  8. Evacuate when directed and follow the procedures included at the beginning of this handbook.
  9. Do not spread rumors.

Explosion

In case of an explosion in your area:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Take cover under a table or desk.
  3. Be prepared for possible further explosions.
  4. Stay away from windows, mirrors, overhead fixtures, filing cabinets, bookcases, etc.
  5. Follow the instructions of the security guards and emergency preparedness personnel.
  6. Evacuate calmly, when directed, to the Assembly Area. Assist disabled persons.
  7. Do not move seriously injured persons, unless they are in immediate danger (fire, building collapse, etc.)
  8. Open doors carefully. Watch for falling objects.
  9. Do not use elevators.
  10. Avoid using the telephone, except in a life threatening situation.
  11. Do not use matches or lighters.
  12. Do not re-enter the affected area until directed by emergency preparedness personnel.
  13. Do not spread rumors.

Major Transportation Accident

Major transportation accidents are those involving any of the various modes of transportation (e.g., highways, waterways, railways, and airways). Such accidents could occur at any time and any place, and often involve multiple injuries and/or deaths.

Many facilities are not prepared (and are not expected to be prepared) to cope with the type of problems created by a major transportation accident. Should such a disaster occur, initiate life-saving and property protection actions until assistance can be provided from the community. For example, security personnel are trained to extinguish small fires and to ensure the safe evacuation of the public. The medical staff and/or persons trained in first aid can attend injured persons. Also, during regular work hours, the staff can implement appropriate measures to protect the collections and other physical assets.

Should a major transportation accident occur, many decisions regarding the appropriate emergency actions to take will have to be made on-the-spot based on the situation. For instance, are hazardous materials involved and/or are there casualties? Is there a need to evacuate? Is there damage to the facility itself and/or are the utilities functioning? For the appropriate protective actions to take for a specific hazard (i.e., fire, hazardous materials, explosions, utility failure, etc.) refer to the respective section in this booklet.

Earthquake

If an earthquake should occur:

During The Shaking ---

If indoors

  • Stay there.
  • Take cover under sturdy furniture (desks, work tables, etc.) or in a supported doorway.
  • Stay near the center of the building.
  • Do not run for the exit as the stairs may be broken or jammed with people.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Stay away from glass windows, doors, display cabinets, bookcases, etc.
  • Do not use candles, matches, or other open flame as there may be gas leaks.
  • Extinguish all fires with the proper type of extinguisher or other method.

If outdoors

  • Move to an open area away from buildings, utility wires, trees, etc.
  • If forced to stand near a building, watch for falling objects.

If driving a vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits, avoiding overpasses and power lines.
  • Remain in the car until the shaking stops.
  • If able to drive on after the shaking stops, watch for hazards which may have been created by the earthquake (e.g., fallen/falling objects, downed utility wires, under-mined roadways, damaged bridges/overpasses).
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