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OSHA: Emergency Action Plan (EAP) For Fire Hazards

The chances of occurrence of fire hazards in some industries vary from minimal amount to considerable amounts in some other industries. OSHA proposes to frame an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to employers that will be very effective in evacuating the workforce out of the workplace in due time to avoid an casualty in case of fire hazards. Though OSHA does not make it mandatory for every employer to have an EAP, it recommends that every employer should have an EAP for unprecedented times. The OSHA standards that require a mandatory EAP are as follows:

  • Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
  • Fixed Extinguishing Systems, General
  • Fire Detection Systems
  • Grain Handling
  • Ethylene Oxide
  • Methylenedianiline
  • 1,3 Butadiene

How an employer must communicate an emergency action plan
If the number of employees is 10 or fewer, then the employer can communicate the plan orally to his employers. In case the number of employees is more than 10, the plan must be documented and kept at the workplace for the employee review.

Elements of an emergency action plan
An EAP ensures that proper procures and actions are initiated in case of a fire hazard at the workplace to ensure that all the employees are safe and evacuated in due time safely. OSHA recommends employers to have following elements on their EAP:

  • The clear indication and description of the routes to use and the procedures to follow in case of a fire hazard.
  • It should ensure that all the employees are evacuated in due time.
  • Procedures for evacuating disabled persons should be there without fail. They are often ignored in the EAP.
  • Evacuation of the persons who stay behind to shit down important plant machinery and equipment should also be addressed.
  • A fire emergency alarm system should be provided, which will effectively detect the fire and sound alarm for the employees to recognize the hazard in good amount of time.
  • Rescue procedures and the procedures for employees carrying out medical duties should also be included.
  • Proper training should be ensured to the employees and the EAP should be kept for review at the workplace.

Some employees should be designated for specific roles in the EAP to ensure that evacuation takes place methodically and in a structured way. Review of the plan with the employees should be carried out in following cases:

  • When new plan is framed and new employees join.
  • When employee responsibilities designated under the plan are changed.
  • When the EAP is changed.

An EAP is very important for safety of the employees in case of a fire hazard. It makes sure that employees do not panic in case of a hazard and be prepared to face it. It ensures maximum safety of the personnel with minimum chances of casualty.

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