The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created in an effort to protect employees in the United States from workplace injuries or work-related illnesses. Unfortunately, even when all steps are properly followed, accidents can happen, systems can malfunction, and unexpected issues can arise. In these situations, there are fallback procedures to prevent loss of life. One such fallback procedure is evacuation; in the event of a fire, toxic chemical leak, or any other major facility catastrophe, evacuation plans and policies are all that remain to protect the lives of employees. As such, OSHA monitors these plans very closely and governs them with Standard 1910.36.
This standard covers everything relating to evacuation plans, including the number of permanent exits required in a facility, the condition of the emergency exit routes, and the physically printed plans. So when crafting your evacuation plans and policies, it is important to ensure that you follow the requirements for your facility. Do not simply guess what makes sense or follow a quick guide written for another facility, because the square footage, number of employees, and layout can all impact how your evacuation plans need to flow. If you have any concerns about the efficacy of your evacuation plans and policies, please contact a third party occupational safety and health auditing firm to ensure you are compliant.
If you have any questions about your evacuation plans and procedures, or if you would like help in updating them, please contact us. If you have anything to add about the importance of ensuring your evacuation plans and policies are updated, please leave a comment.