An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document required by OSHA standards to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. A well-developed emergency plan and proper employee training will result in fewer and reduced severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. In the recent Ohio State incident, emergency officials were able to act quickly and cease the situation in less than two minutes thanks to their emergency action training. The school was honored for their active shooter training and the campus alert system for helping the community maintain order while the scene was secured. In a recent CNN release, Gov. John Kasich commented on the response and “how much practice, how much training, how much expertise, how much coordination” existed among local law enforcement agencies. The communication held throughout the situation and ability to handle a crisis quickly has influenced schools throughout the nation.
THE NEW NEWS FROM THE NCSL
New Legislative action has been released that schools must have an EAP and School Safety Plans. The plans will outline how schools and school districts will prevent and address situations that threaten school safety in all emergency situations. There are currently 33 states with statutes that specifically require every school or school district to have an all-inclusive emergency plan. These districts also have the choice to apply additional requirements regarding their safety plans, including measures that address school safety needs specific to the area. Since 2000, at least 13 states have passed legislation establishing school safety councils, committees, and/or studies. These organization’s focus rely mainly on general violence prevention, mental and behavioral health supports, and the creation of safety, security, and emergency preparedness standards. Their ultimate goal is to prevent and prepare for unexpected situations, like the Ohio State one, and ensure the safety of all students and personnel.
WHY YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD HAVE AN EAP
Unless your company has fewer than 11 employees, the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires businesses to have both an EAP and a Fire Prevention Plan for emergency preparedness. The law also requires employers to account for everyone in the workplace and knowing where all of your employees are in the event of an emergency. In your company’s EAP, you should include:
- 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 plan operations before they evacuate
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
- Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
Establishing an EAP will not only reduce the risk of damages and injuries, but will help promote teamwork amongst employees and management. Assigning tasks and leaders to coordinate safety procedures helps empower employees and maintain communication through organized meetings. It will also establish relationships with law enforcement leaders who are aware of your EAP and have communicated details of it with your employees.
When creating your EAP, keep it tactical and simple. Including easy-to-follow procedures can help to avoid complication and confusion among employees. While you may not expect an attack to occur near your workplace, it is still essential to have emergency preparedness plans in place. For more information on creating and implementing effective emergency response plans, contact Preparis at email@example.com or request a demo to have us walk you through our easy-to-use platform.