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Workplace emergencies: How prepared is your organisation?

Workplace emergencies: How prepared is your organisation?

Not being compliant with emergency preparedness regulations can have serious implications for your business, not least of which is the potential for employee casualties and death. Here’s where to start if you need to get your emergency preparedness on track.

What is emergency preparedness, exactly? Essentially, it refers to your organisation’s ability to prepare for and effectively respond to a workplace emergency. This can be any event that endangers employees, clients or the public, or that risks damaging and disrupting workplace operations – for example, fires, explosions, earthquakes, hazardous-material spills, crime, terrorism, severe weather and medical emergencies.

Would your staff know how to respond to an accident or medical emergency, or any other emergency situation in the workplace? Are they up to speed with workplace safety regulations? If you’re unsure, chances are your business needs an emergency-response risk assessment.

Emergency preparedness saves lives – but where to start?

Before undergoing a formal emergency-response risk assessment, there are steps you can take internally to assess your current situation and start thinking about what needs to happen to get your business on track with emergency preparedness.

  • Get the right stakeholders together. Developing any kind of emergency action plan (EAP) requires input from a wide range of employees, from senior management to security staff. Make sure you include all relevant people in any emergency preparedness discussions.
  • Do your own basic risk assessment. Brainstorm the threats your business faces and what your EAP will need to address. For example, if fire is a risk, your staff will need adequate fire and rescue training. If natural disasters are a threat, you’ll need to define shelter areas for your workforce.
  • Consider your main emergency procedures. For example, how will staff be notified of an emergency? What are the possible evacuation routes for your premises? How and where will staff gather once evacuated?
  • Assign roles and responsibilities. Think about who will carry out which duties in an emergency situation.
  • Consider the emergency-preparedness training your staff will need. An EAP is useless if employees don’t know how to use it. Proper training and regular drills are essential.

Weighing up risk

While it’s useful to start having emergency-preparedness conversations internally, it’s best to leave the formal emergency-response assessment to the experts. Having an assessment like this performed on your business will help you to:

  • Evaluate the availability and capabilities of emergency medical services and facilities located within range of your premises
  • Assess your compliance in terms of legislative emergency preparedness requirements
  • Provide recommendations in the form of a documented Emergency Response Management Plan (ERMP) on how to manage emergency incidents effectively and responsibly
  • Assess your level of emergency preparedness, based on the type and level of risk posed by your business operations.

Getting help to get on track

Life Health Solutions offers emergency-risk evaluations and assessments, assistance with ERMPs, fire and rescue compliance services, fire training through accredited partners, and fire and rescue assessments and inspections. To find out more, contact us at

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