What is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?

Elements of an Emergency Action Plan

An emergency action plan (EAP) should address emergencies that the employer may reasonably expect in the workplace.  Some examples include: fires; hazardous materials spills; tornadoes; floods; and others.  The following text identifies the main components of an EAP as outlined by OSHA.

  • An EAP must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review.  Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the EAP orally.

  • An EAP must include at a minimum:
    • procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency
    • procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
      • use floor plans or workplace maps which clearly show the emergency escape routes
      • color coding will aid employees in determining their route assignments
    • procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
      • i.e. plant power supplies, plant water supplies, and other essential services that cannot be shut down or have to be shut down in stages
    • procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
    • procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
    • the name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan
  • An employer must have and maintain an employee alarm system.
    • the alarm system must use a distinctive signal for each purpose and comply with the requirements in section 1910.165
  • An employer must designate and train employees to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of other employees.
    • assure an adequate number of employees are available at all times to act as evacuation wardens in times of emergencies
    • one warden for every twenty employees in considered adequate
    • make wardens thoroughly aware of facility layout, places of refuge (interior and exterior), and any and all handicapped or disabled employees who may need extra assistance
  • An employer must review the EAP with each employee covered by the plan.
    • when the plan is developed or the employee is assigned initially to a job
    • when the employee's responsibilities under the plan change
    • when the plan is changed
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