“EAP” stands for Emergency Action Plan. Federal OSHA and State Plan standards require almost every workplace to have an EAP. For example, if fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA requires you to have an EAP. The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies.
The minimum requirements for EAPs are described in OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.38(a). At a minimum, an EAP must include:
- emergency reporting procedures
- evacuation procedures
- procedures for employees who stay behind
- rescue and medical procedures
- persons who may be contracted about the plan or an employee’s duties
For employers with 11 or more employees, the EAP must be in writing. For employers with 10 or fewer employees, EAPs may be communicated orally.
Workplace emergencies include any situation that threatens workers, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Such emergencies may be natural in origin (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods) or man-made (e.g., workplace violence). They often occur unexpectedly and intensify rapidly requiring employees to assess whether to “fight or flee” quickly. Ensuring that your employees are prepared to respond to property and potentially life-threatening situations swiftly and safely is critical to every business operation.
OSHA provides guidance on responding to a number of specific workplace emergencies. The emergency wall poster you choose to supplement your site-specific EAP should cover these emergencies. However, it is essential that an EAP be developed for the particular worksite, taking into account the worksite’s anticipated hazards, evacuation policies and procedures, emergency reporting mechanisms, and alarm systems.
Plan, Train, Communicate
The Worksite Emergency Response Poster is an effective training tool, crisis response strategy and EAP program supplement. The poster reinforces drills and provides readily accessible instructions whether a hazardous situation is anticipated or it develops unexpectedly.
The Worksite Emergency Response Poster covers common sources of emergencies addressed by OSHA, including:
√ Winter storms
√ Workplace violence
√ Fire extinguisher use
√ Emergency contacts
Everyone in your workplace should know what to do and who to contact in a crisis. Raising awareness of response procedures ahead of time helps reduce confusion, fear and anxiety. If an emergency does arise, posted response procedures can help protect people and property from casualty. The commitment and support of all employees is critical to the plan’s success in the event of an emergency. Put this poster up. Your employees will thank you.