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Five steps to prepare for emergencies even if your risk control measures fail

by , 09 February 2015
Because you know you have a legal duty to manage health and safety risks in your company, you conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards. After this process, you implement risk control measures.

Your job's complete, right?


You also need to consider the type of emergencies that could come about if your risk controls fail so you can plan for them.

Let's face it, you could have the best risk control measures in place, but people aren't perfect and systems are open to human error. And you can't hide from equipment failures and natural events outside of your control.

Keep reading to find out the five steps you need to take to prepare and respond to emergencies in case your risk control measures fail.

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Take this quick quiz to find out if you can handle the DoL hot seat
  • Which risk assessments have to be checked by an approved inspector every two years?
  • Is it absolutely necessary for your company to appoint and train someone as a risk assessor?
  • When was the last time you did a risk assessment? (Is that too long?)
  • Have you checked and double checked the less obvious health hazards?

If you can't answer even one of these questions you're not only putting your employee's lives at risk; you're also putting yourself in danger of massive fine from the DoL.
Don't wait until it's too late.
Learn how to do your risk assessments correctly here.

Risk control measures can fail! Plan for this possibility by following these five steps

The Health & Safety Advisor says when it comes to risk management, you need to consider what kind of emergencies could arise if your risk controls fail. And you need to come up with a suitable emergency response.
Here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: Assess areas for potential emergencies
Take all the risks from your baseline risk assessment and include them in your plan. Then explain what your employees need to do to minimise each risk and give them training.
Your risks could include the following:
  • Fire (flammables)
  • Explosion (gases, vapours)
  • Floods (natural events)
  • Power outages (electrical failure)
  • Spillage (hazardous chemical substances)
  • Pollution (emissions, waste disposal, spills)
  • Burst water pipes (causing damage and loss)
  • Machinery (running out of control)
Step 2: Appoint the relevant people
You must appoint certain people so they can help during emergencies. This includes first aiders, fire team members, etc.
For all the appointments you need to make, check out The Appointment Letters Toolkit. It will also show you how to issue appointment letters correctly so you avoid fines of up to R50 000.
Step 3: Collect emergency contact information
Your plan must also include emergency contact numbers. You don't want a situation where there's a fire and no one knows how to get hold of the fire department. Just remember to update this information regularly.
Step 4: Include emergency equipment locations in your plan
Include an emergency equipment locations flowchart into your plan. This way, everyone in your workplace knows where things like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, spill kits, etc, are.
Step 5: Include a roll call register
Your plan must also include a copy of the roll call register you'll use in an emergency to do a head count.
When it comes to risk management, dong a risk assessment and putting control measures in place isn't enough. You also need to plan how you'll deal with emergencies if your controls fail. So make sure you take these five steps.

PS: To discover four more steps you must take and get a free sample roll call register, check out the Health & Safety Advisor.

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