Planning for Emergency Situations | Hasmate health and safety
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Planning for Emergency Situations

Planning for Emergency Situations

The below article highlights the need and responsibility as the PCBU of a business, to ensure that if emergency procedures and equipment has been put in place, that those who have to use it know where it is located, and (more importantly) how to use it.

Read article here – Enchanter skipper denies breaching health and safety laws in fatal charter.

Many readers will relate to the life jackets being stowed away, but this brings up the question – did the skipper who was running a commercial venture provide any kind of safety awareness (or, if you like, an induction) prior to the casting off from the jetty?

Another example of bad emergency management

From personal experience, I’ve witnessed a situation that involved the accidental mixing and release of chlorine gas at a chemical manufacturing plant. The emergency response situation went horribly wrong for several reasons:

  • The designated assembly point for the employees of the factory was in the middle of the cul-de-sac leading to the factory, and yes, the same entry point for the emergency vehicles – fire engines, police, ambulances, etc.
  • When the trained emergency response team attempted to access the cabinet holding the breathing apparatus (BA) equipment, they found the cabinet could not be accessed because nobody knew where the key was.
    This indicated that there had been no checks on the emergency management processes.
  • When the key was located, the emergency response team ran around like headless chooks, and in one case, a team member put the BA equipment on, upside down.

The irony of this situation was this company had recently achieved a tertiary level pass in the old ACC WSMP program for the 3rd time!

During the debrief of this event, it became obvious that the company’s health and safety and emergency management systems were, to say the least, wanting. They desperately needed an overhaul, regardless of the ACC auditing.

Prioritising Emergency Management

These two events raise questions about process – so how can your business plan for emergencies?  Here are some factors to consider.

Has the business:

  1. Identified the actual and potential emergency situations that could arise in its operations?
  2. Undertaken a risk profile and assessment to establish the criticality of each emergency?
  3. Established a priority of the potential emergency situations?
  4. Obtained external and competent advice on the best method to manage these situations?
  5. Involved the senior management in the emergency requirements, and established budget to implement the emergency plans?
  6. Documented the different emergency plans?
  7. Developed a facility for the safe storage of the emergency equipment as required?
  8. Created a checking system for the ongoing auditing of the equipment to test its suitability?
  9. Identified and trained key personnel as the company’s emergency management team?
  10. Ensured that the team is competent in all applications of the plans, and the training has been recorded?
  11. Notified the different emergency services of your plans and processes?
  12. Undertaken practise/trial runs to test the emergency procedures?
  13. Included emergency evacuations as part of the health and safety meeting record?
  14. Developed and trained selected employees to be the company’s emergency controllers, wardens. etc.?
  15. Included the emergency procedures in the company induction process?
  16. Developed a system to inform contractors and visitors entering the premises about the emergency procedures?
  17. Trained staff in the emergency evacuation processes?
  18. Undertaken a minimum of 2 emergency drills to test the efficiency of the systems?
  19. Developed and maintained a system for the keeping of all emergency management records?

This list is not inclusive of all the requirements of specific industry sectors, but an indicator of what to consider when setting up or managing your  company’s emergency protocols.

Other suggested articles:

Please contact us if you would like to discuss.