By: Hammam Elmahi
At workplaces, incidents and accidents might happen at any time, due to unsafe acts or unsafe conditions, and we all believe we cannot control the workplace by 100%, there is always some failure and flaws, however, we must control the risk as much as reasonably practicable.
The employer is responsible for reasonably foreseeable risks, and to assess that, they can conduct simple risk tests. We can know if the risk is foreseeable, in one of three ways: common knowledge, industry knowledge and experts’ knowledge.
An accident can happen, that is the reason why safety is everyone’s responsibility, yet, to reduce the consequences, employers must create an emergency procedure plan or emergency action plan. This kind of question you might encounter in NEBOSH IG1 exam.
What are the emergencies to prepare for?
Based on the workplace and the industry, there are many emergences action plans. Employees used to be prepared for emergencies like fire and first aid, however, there are a plethora of emergency companies should be prepared for. For example, hazardous chemicals, natural disaster (ex. earthquake), and bomb threat. The emergency response generally includes a drill, such as fire drill, work at hight drill, electrical shock drills and snake bite drill, and they are all part of emergency response plans.
Why we must have the emergency procedure?
Preserve employee’s life
The primary objective of emergency procedures is to safeguard the lives of employees.Without an action plan in place, the consequences of an incident can be damaging and catastrophic. The organization’s employer owes a duty of care towards its workers. A plan of action can reduce the number of casualties extensively
Reduce plant and equipment damage
Acquiring a suitable emergency procedure can help reduce the maintenance efforts and the time required to maintain the normal production pace. Control measures such as fire call points, fire extinguishers, machine heat and pressure gauges, and emergency push buttons can reduce the impact of incidents and loss.
preserve the business
The employer must have a clear emergency action plan to protect the business from indirect consequences. For example, damage to a company’s reputation and goodwill can be one of the issues an employer must be aware of. For instance, when a critical accident takes place, it will affect the company’s public image. This can result in the delay of orders or even their cancellation, leading to customer dissatisfaction. Moreover, people may choose to avoid dealing with a company that doesn’t prioritize the safety of its employees, as they may consider it immoral.
Companies purchase insurance to cover the loss in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, that gives a false sense of immunity because insurance does not cover the indirect costs of the accident, such as sick pay, leaves, canceled purchase orders, and damage to the enterprise’s reputation. To address these issues, you need to think proactively by implementing emergency procedures.
For Public and environment
Early response to an emergency reduces the overall impact of the emergency dramatically. A swift response can save lives and a significant amount of money. For instance, gas leakage in a domestic area can lead to a tragic explosion. Alerting and fitting control measures like a leakage detector, loud alarms, and a clear evacuation plan with frequent drills can substantially reduce the loss.
Compliance with legal requirements
Local and international laws mandate the provision of emergency procedures and emergency action plans in all workplaces, and this compliance is monitored through frequent inspections and registration with various government bodies. For example, R171 – Occupational Health Services Recommendation, 1985, states in section D, ’23. Taking into account national law and practice, occupational health services in undertakings should provide first aid and emergency treatment in cases of accidents or indisposition of workers at the workplace and should collaborate in the organization of first aid.’ Non-compliance with these legal requirements would result in fines, prosecution, or imprisonment.
All in all, it is a moral duty of an employer to provide a suitable and adequate emergency procedure, a sufficient number of first aiders, and proper first aid boxes in the workplace, in addition to refreshing training for first aiders annually. Moreover, fire drills are mandatory once a year in many national laws, and sometimes they are conducted under the supervision of the national civil defense.