When we hear ‘emergency procedures’, we tend to think: Yes, we’re prepared - we have an evacuation plan.
But emergency procedures aren’t just about evacuation.
For instance, do you know what you would do if:
- There was a shooter in the building?
- There was a bomb threat?
- There was a power outage?
- There was a dangerous incident occurring outside or in the vicinity of the building?
The iSafe Program has visited literally hundreds of offices. Almost all that we have visited have evacuation procedures. Almost none have procedures for any other type of emergency.
Some of the '"other" types of emergencies we have come across include:
- Snakes in the car park
- Bushfires in the neighbouring parkland
- Severe storm with traffic chaos - road flooding, traffic lights down
- Aggressive and threatening person in reception
- Neighbouring building works with incident
- Suspicious parcel left outside the building entrance
- Protesters with escalating violence
And as much as we hope some things don't ever happen again, it would not be sensible to overlook the siege in Sydney or the driver/vehicle attacks in Melbourne.
Sometimes it is not the best to evacuate - other emergency measures are necessary.
Identify the Risks
These scenarios may not be likely, but a little forethought can go a long way.
The Risk Management approach can be very useful for this. Risk Management provides a framework for identifying the risks and evaluating the likelihood and the consequence of the event. The examples above may have a very low likelihood of occurring, but could have a very high level of consequence as people may be seriously injured or killed. Then, we need to design and implement safety controls that are appropriate.
Plan Ahead and Be Prepared:
Unfortunately, we can’t think as quickly or as logically as we’d like to in an emergency situation - and so it’s important to account for this and put measures in place so that we’re prepared.
Key considerations are to work out what the likely response might be, who is best placed to take charge, whether there any preliminary or preparatory actions needed to be put in place, and to explain to all staff what to expect if such an emergency arises.
Be prepared for the other types of emergencies.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO SUPPORT YOUR WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY PROGRAM
- Safety Management module in the Talent Engagement Standard.
- Safety Management webinars: Safety – Tips & Traps; WHS Officers - Is Your Due Diligence in Place? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase and/or discuss.
Service Excellence Consulting is a proud supporter of National Safe Work Month.