Creating an Emergency Action Plans for Business Continuity

Workplace emergencies always happen without warning. With an emergency action plan (EAP) in place, employees can effectively respond to a variety of workplace emergencies. An emergency disrupts business, endangers the safety of employees and customers, and possibly damages property and equipment. Businesses need to keep employees, property and data safe with emergency preparedness strategies.

What is an Emergency Action Plan?

The emergency action plan provides crisis management and a detailed set of procedures to follow during an emergency. The EAP helps to organize and implement specific steps that enable you to keep people and property safe and to continue operations after the emergency ends.

If your company has more than 10 employees, OHSA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that you have an emergency action plan. There may be city or state regulations that also require emergency preparedness in the workplace. 

Most Common Workplace Emergencies

Although the most common emergency is a medical crisis, workplace emergencies take many forms. They range from an employee having a heart attack to the entire office having to evacuate due to a fire to a security breach that shuts down all the computers.

Here are four common emergencies:

1. Weather-Related Emergencies

Some regions of the country are prone to weather-related emergencies such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and snowstorms. These can lead to power outages and IT problems. Procedures or policies such as having back-up generators, or refuge areas to wait out the tornado or hurricane, have to be determined in advance.

2. Fires and Explosions

In case of fire, an evacuation plan with escape routes is important. If flammable chemicals are on the premises, explosions are also possible, although rare.

Many EAPs also name the employees who are designated to use the fire extinguishers or administering first aid.

3. Chemicals and Toxins in Air

It’s essential to have an EAP if the workplace stores or produces hazardous materials. The release of toxic gas or chemical spills into the air can cause many issues. The EAP must designate which employees will shut down critical operations or perform other services to minimize the problem.

4. Threats of Violence

Workplace violence appears to be on the rise. An active shooter, disgruntled employee, public protests, bomb threats and terrorist attacks can all disrupt a business and lead to bodily harm, or property damage. Depending on the particular threat, it may be best to evacuate or find a refuge area.

In all types of emergencies, the EAP must detail how the emergency is reported to the proper authorities, and how communication will be carried out between employee and first responders.

How to Create an Emergency Action Plan

With so many different types of workplace emergencies, there is usually an EAP for each type of situation. Many businesses have several EAPs. In some regions city, state or federal laws require different EAPs and these regulations determine what is included in each plan.

An EAP can also be coupled with a disaster recovery plan in case of security breaches. Both plans are geared to protect a company’s assets and keep it in business following any crisis.

The best place to create and store emergency action plans is in the cloud. A software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, such as RiingStor’s LifeJacket, is a great way to easily produce EAPs using the software’s built-in templates for OHSA and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) emergency action plans.

With an EAP in the cloud it’s easier to manage and update the plans and remain compliant with changing laws.  With storage in the cloud you have convenient access to the plans at all times. This is important because you need to have hard copy versions of the latest EAP available for designated personnel such as safety captains. You can just print out the latest version of the EAP after you have made changes or updates. 

Good emergency action plans are essential for the safety of your employees and your business facility and assets. The emergency action plan gets a business into a state of readiness so people can act quickly if or when an emergency does occur

If you want to protect your business from workplace emergencies, contact RingStor today to learn more.

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