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Will your emergency preparedness and response plan pass the earthquake test?

by , 21 November 2013
An earthquake rocked Jo'burg earlier this week, shaking buildings in town. Luckily, the quake caused no injuries and no damage. But if it was a little bigger, perhaps it would have. Would you have been prepared for a major quake? Do you have an emergency preparedness and response plan in place?

As an employer, it's your responsibility to provide and maintain a safe working environment for your employees, that's without risk. This includes being prepared for emergencies.
The experts at the Health and Safety Advisor Loose Leaf explain how you can create an emergency preparedness and response plan for your company, by following these simple steps.
Step-by-step: How to draw up an emergency preparedness and response plan
Step #1: Assess areas for potential emergencies
You need to take all the risks from your baseline risk assessment and include them in your plan.
Step #2: Make the necessary appointments
Appoint in writing certain people who are responsible for certain activities, e.g. first aid.You'll also need to include what the worker who discovers the emergency must do, for example:
• The person discovering the incident (he should activate the emergency alarm system);
• All other employees (actions all people on site must take on site when the emergency alarm is activated).
Step #3: Collect and include emergency contact information
Always keep the contact numbers up to date. If you work shifts outside of normal office hours, then you must appoint somebody or list people as those to contact for emergencies during shift work.
Step #4: Include emergency equipment locations in your plan
This should be in the form of a flowchart. If your workplace has areas that are divided, such as offices or work cubicles, your emergency equipment locations flowchart should be as exact as possible when you put the emergency equipment locations on it
Step #5: Include information of where you've stored your emergency equipment
Step #6: Include your roll call register
This is the register you'll use in an emergency to do a head count.
Step #7: Decide on your assembly points
Identify safe areas where your employees can assemble when there's an emergency. The assembly points must have a visible, readable sign stating that it is an assembly point, and it must be visible from a distance/readable.
Step #8: Implement your plan
Train all your employees in the emergencypreparedness and response plan, but only to the extent ofwhat they need to do in an emergency. This means youwon't train all your employees in the same way as thepeople you appoint for responsibilities during anemergency.
You must also train the appointed responsible people inthe special actions they need to take during anemergency.
You should conduct emergency drills at least once everythree to four months.
Step #9: Give your completed emergency plan to yourlocal area fire department for evaluation
The local fire department and emergency services(ambulance, etc.) should take part in at least one drill ayear. This will keep them informed (about changes,chemicals, gases, flammables, etc. on your site) andyou'll be able to measure the time limits for theirresponse to you in an emergency.
Now you can create your own emergency preparedness and response plan in place, in a flash!

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