Emergency Planning Procedures

Emergency Planning Procedures

Most of this chapter is about the principles of control to prevent accidents and ill-health. Emergency procedures, however, are about control procedures and equipment to limit the damage to people and property caused by an incident. Local fire and rescue authorities will often be involved and are normally prepared to advise employers. 

Under Regulation 8 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, procedures must be established and set in motion to deal with serious and imminent danger to persons at work. Necessary links must be maintained with local authorities, particularly with regard to first aid, emergency medical care, and rescue work.

Although fire is the most common emergency likely to be faced, many other possibilities should be considered, including: 

  • gas explosion; 
  • electrical burn or electrocution; 
  • escape of toxic gases or fumes; 
  • discovery of dangerous dusts like asbestos in the atmosphere; terrorist threat; 
  • large vehicle crashing into the premises; 
  • aircraft crash if near a flight path; 
  • spread of highly infectious disease; 
  • severe weather with high winds and flooding. 

Supervisory duties

A member of the site staff should be nominated to supervise and coordinate all emergency arrangements. This person should be in a senior position or have direct access to a senior manager. Senior staff members should be appointed as departmental fire/emergency procedure wardens, with deputies for every occasion of absence, however, brief. They should ensure that the following precautions are taken:

  • Everyone on site can be alerted to an emergency. 
  • Everyone on site knows what signal will be given for an emergency and what to do. 
  • Someone who has been trained in what to do is on-site and ready to coordinate activities. 
  • Emergency routes are kept clear, signed, and adequately lit. 
  • There are arrangements for calling the fire and rescue services and to give them certain information about high-hazard work, for example, in tunnels or confined spaces. 
  • There is adequate access to the site for the emergency services, and this is always kept clear. 
  • Suitable arrangements for treating and recovering injured people are set up. 
  • Someone is posted to the site entrance to receive and direct the emergency services.

Assembly and roll call

Assembly points should be established for use in the event of an evacuation. It should be in a position, preferably undercover, which is unlikely to be affected in an emergency. It may be necessary to make mutual arrangements with the client or occupiers of nearby premises in some cases. 

In the case of small sites, a complete list of the names of all staff should be maintained so that a roll call can be made if evacuation becomes necessary. 

In those premises where the number of staff would make a single roll call difficult, each area warden should maintain a list of the names of employees and contractors in their area. Roll call lists must be updated regularly. 

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