Summer in Australia means bushfires, storms, and cyclones, depending on where you’re from in this huge country of ours.  It also means it is time to review your business emergency management plan, in case a natural disaster was to occur in your local area, or you had a workplace emergency.

All workplaces have obligations in relation to their emergency plans. In Queensland, section 43 of the WHS Regulation, states:

 

“all workplaces have an obligation to prepare, maintain and implement an emergency plan that provides for the following:

  • emergency procedures including an effective response to an emergency
  • evacuation procedures
  • notifying emergency service organisations at the earliest opportunity
  • medical treatment and assistance
  • effective communications
  • testing of the emergency procedures including the frequency of testing
  • information, training and instruction to relevant workers in relation to implementing the emergency procedures.”

You can read more on this here.

Emergency plans can vary quite significantly across businesses, depending on the nature of the work, the size and location of the business and the types of hazards within the workplace itself. Take the time to consider the types of hazards in your workplace and the risk levels involved.

 

The Safe Work Australia Emergency Plans fact sheet gives the following examples:

 

“Examples of inclusions in an emergency plan

An emergency plan may include practical information for workers such as:

  • emergency contact details for key personnel who have specific roles or responsibilities under the emergency plan, for example, fire wardens, floor wardens, and first aid officers
  • contact details for local emergency services, for example, police, fire brigade and poison information centre
  • a description of the mechanisms for alerting people at the workplace to an emergency or possible emergency, for example, siren or bell alarm
  • evacuation procedures including arrangements for assisting any hearing, vision or mobility-impaired people
  • a map of the workplace illustrating the location of fire protection equipment, emergency exits, assembly points
  • triggers and processes for advising neighbouring businesses about emergencies, and
  • the post-incident follow-up process, for example, notifying the regulator, organising trauma counselling or medical treatment.
  • Procedures for testing the emergency plan including the frequency of testing must be included.”

 

All employees should be inducted into the emergency and evacuation procedures, with the evacuation details and information clearly displayed in the workplace. Running dummy tests on these processes, through a ‘fire drill’ is imperative for both educating the staff in relation to the process, as well as reviewing any areas of the evacuation process that need improvement or clarification.

 

When considering your emergency plan, it’s also worthwhile considering how your business would continue to operate in the case of a natural disaster or emergency. Do you have the capacity to work off-site? Is the data on your computers backed up regularly? Do you have the appropriate insurances in place? If key members of the team are injured or worse, do you have a succession plan in place?

 

The team at Workplace Central are workforce management experts. We work with a wide variety of industries, helping them to engage, manage and employ their staff, through all human resources and workplace health and safety matters. If you need help in this space, get in touch with us today!