Workplace Safety

How Does An Emergency Action Plan Benefit Your Workplace? All You Want to Know

Emergencies can occur anywhere and at any time. An emergency at work, for instance, could endanger your clients and staff as well as disrupt or shut down your entire business. Being organized beforehand is the most reliable and efficient way to handle a crisis. That’s whycreating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) can be beneficial. 

The Emergency Action Plan (EAP) aims to cover all potential emergency situations as well as the necessary actions and safety measures to take when handling workplace accidents and other types of disasters.

Even though it’s impossible to predict what unfortunate events might cause an emergency at work, having access to an EAP could give you a leg up in terms of being ready for catastrophes. An EAP’s main objective is to stop accidents and harm to people’s lives, in addition to safeguarding the resources or property in a specific workplace.

Continue reading to find out more about EAPs and the reasons why every workplace is required to have one.

EAP – What Does It Mean?

A written list of procedures and actions that management and all employees should adhere to in the event of emergencies is known as an emergency action plan.  

An EAP should cover situations like fires, tornadoes, floods, and other emergencies that employers might expect to happen at work. 

All businesses with more than ten employees are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP). 

Employees should have access to and be able to review the plan in the workplace. All employees must receive the proper program training, as per OSHA regulations.

How Does a Workplace Benefit from An EAP?

The most obvious advantage that an EAP offers a workplace is “preparation.”‘ The advantages of EAP can be summed up under three broad questions, beyond the structure and organization of the steps that outline preparation measures.

What Are the Immediate Benefits of An EAP?

Backed up with adequate training, the benefits of EAP that are immediately apparent are as follows:

  • Mutual understanding of what each employee in a workplace should do in an emergency is achieved through communication.
  • Consistency: The organization-wide implementation of the devised action plan.
  • Employee Compliance: As was previously mentioned, an EAP is preserved in written form, but verbal communication can also guarantee employee compliance. OSHA, however, requires that each employee be given a copy of the EAP and have the right to review it when there are more than eleven people working there.

What Are the Benefits of Having An EAP When a Disaster Strikes?

The EAP can assist in emergencies by establishing a well-trained and integrated response from all employees that prevents panic and injury through a deliberate and procedural plan of action. The following are the benefits of EAP during a disaster:

  • Low risk of severe injuries and minimal threat to the lives of human resources
  • diminished possibility of structural damage to the infrastructure and diminished property loss.

What Are the Long-term Benefits of Having An EAP?

There are several long-term benefits of EAP that can be summarised as follows:

  • Increasing B2B partnerships: Most B2B businesses demand that their partners have an EAP in place because it lowers the risk of a supply chain disruption in an emergency. Because companies prefer to partner with companies that have an EAP in place, EAP can reduce market competition.
  • Customer loyalty: Customers are committed to a business or organization as long as their goods or services are delivered to them within the agreed-upon window of time. In the event of an emergency, an EAP makes sure that a business recovers as quickly as possible, avoiding delays in offering goods and services to customers.
  • Enhancing communication: EAP makes sure that at least one employee is fully informed of the emergency’s nature and effects and is available to be contacted by those interested in learning more. By giving them a clear understanding of what happened inside the workplace during the emergency, people can avoid having a negative perception about EAP. An EAP can provide information about the disaster to clients and other stakeholders and an estimated time frame for when business operations can resume as usual.
  • Less reliance on insurance: Insurance is necessary, but it does not cover all facets of a company, such as its clientele. Workplaces can have a backup plan for the security that an insurance company offers through a well-managed EAP.
  • Less reliance on the government: During large-scale disasters, government relief organizations may become overburdened with relief efforts. An EAP would guarantee that workplaces carry out their disaster relief activities in a timely and safe manner. Without one, workplaces may not receive the attention they require.
  • Avoiding failure: In the cutthroat global market, a company’s chances of survival ultimately depend on how it responds to an emergency.
How Does An Emergency Action Plan Benefit Your Workplace All You Want to Know
How Does An Emergency Action Plan Benefit Your Workplace? All You Want to Know

How to Create An EAP?

The procedural steps that have to be followed in creating an effective EAP are as follows:

  • creating an organizational structure.
  • confirming the presence of PPE kits.
  • exit points that are clearly marked for both visitors and staff.
  • The parameters would decide whether people needed to evacuate or if they could take cover and remain put.
  • Employees who must stay longer at the facility to make sure that all necessary processes, machinery, or operations are stopped can be designated.

Why Should You Have An EAP?

Your employees’ safety during a disaster should be your top priority, which is why you need to have an emergency action plan. 

Your employees’ lives could be in danger as a result of the chaos that comes with emergencies. 

  • The results of a study indicate that 40% of affected businesses never reopened. 
  • Your company may be able to survive if you have a set of procedures in place to deal with such emergencies.
  • Customers might not care that a disaster has affected your business. They’ll continue to count on you to deliver your goods or services on time. They might start supporting your rival if there is a delay.
  • When something happens, a strong EAP has processes in place to quickly inform customers and stakeholders. Making your communication channels open helps to improve customer perceptions.
  • Most of the time, insurance only offers a partial solution. It won’t replace lost customers or make up for all of your losses.
  • Neither will other government organizations offer complete relief. Numerous disasters can overwhelm their resources, so they might not be able to help you right away. 
  • Additionally, the majority of big businesses anticipate that their suppliers will be ready for emergencies. ensuring that their own business won’t be harmed if something bad occurs to another company in the supply chain. 

What Does An Emergency Action Plan Include?

At the very least, per OSHA requirements, your EAP must include these elements:

  • The job title and/or name of employees who understand the plan and can be contacted by those who want to better understand it;
  • Procedures to report emergencies, including fires;
  • Steps to be taken by any staff who, before evacuation, need to complete critical plant operations;
  • Exit route assignments and procedures for different types of emergency evacuations;
  • Medical and rescue steps to be taken by employees assigned those responsibilities; and
  • Immediately after the evacuation, what to do to account for personnel

Training — You need to provide training to ensure organized and safe employee evacuation in support of the EAP.

Emergency notification — You must install and properly maintain an employee alarm system in addition to what is provided by the EAP. There needs to be a distinct signal for each kind of emergency. (For this alarm system, Section 1910.165 of OSHA regulations specifies additional requirements.)

Organizations must conduct mock drills and practices to train employees to ensure that an EAP is reliable. An alarm system that is operational and well-maintained should be present at a workplace in addition to training and the steps that must be followed when performing an EAP evacuation. Each emergency needs to have a unique signal, which the staff should be aware of in advance.

The Five Steps to Create An EAP

Here are five emergency action plan steps to simplify your process:

Step 1 – Create a team to construct the EAP that enables management and staff to participate and communicate.

Step 2 – Through a thorough risk analysis, identify any hazards.

Step 3 – Establish your EAP’s goals.

Step 4 – Organize everything in a document in accordance with OSHA standards.

Step 5 – Create a second team to serve as the team that will respond to emergencies on the spot when they occur.

Review and Refine An EAP

While teaching employees how to use fire extinguishers and administer first aid is a necessary part of emergency preparedness training for employees, workplaces must also make sure that their training is not forgotten. An annual refresher of the EAP is recommended in addition to the reviews of EAP under any of the following circumstances

  • once a worker is hired.
  • any time an EAP is altered or modified.
  • when a person’s job responsibilities for responding to emergencies change.

How to Get Started?

Preventing an emergency is the most effective and practical course of action. 

You must first evaluate your company to determine any potential risks it may face before developing an EAP. These differ based on your location and the type of business you have.

Plans for emergency action will address issues involving readily available hazardous materials. Some will have to deal with problems caused by older structures that were constructed in accordance with less stringent safety regulations. Others will require preparedness plans for natural disasters.

While there will be many differences depending on the kind of emergency you are preparing for, some of the necessary steps will be the same for various issues. 

What you should do in the event of an earthquake is very different from what you should do in the event of a fire or an act of workplace violence.

Always offer the means by which you can get people to safety. You still have an effective and concise plan for communicating with everyone who might be in danger, whether that entails sheltering them or evacuating them.

Make sure to research the effects it will have on you afterward in addition to any potential hazards you may encounter and how to stay safe when they do. 

This ought to make it clear what consequences, such as the delay of new business plans and other consequences of service disruption, may result from lost clients and lost revenue if your company is closed down for an extended period of time.

Be as precise as you can to get a general idea of the costs you might face so that you can thoughtfully prepare for a disaster.

Last But Not Least

EAP can effectively save businesses by preserving the lives of their personnel and lessening the severity of the harm that would otherwise result from a disaster. A backup plan, like the EAP, gives employees additional peace of mind regarding the security of their workplace. This boosts employee morale, which in turn increases output and overall profit.

A plan for emergencies at work is advantageous.