Planning for Accidents and Emergencies

In any business, things can go wrong. You need to be ready to deal with these unplanned events. Look at incidents which have caused injuries and ill health or other damage. Think about emergencies – plan for the worst that can happen. You must have the right first-aid arrangements. Some events need to be reported.

United Alliance Services has provided a list of considerations in planning for accidents and emergencies:

 Emergency Procedures

When things go wrong, people may be exposed to serious and immediate danger. Special procedures are necessary for emergencies such as serious injuries, explosion, flood, poisoning, electrocution, fire, release of radioactivity and chemical spillage.

What does OSHA say about emergency action plans? Click here

Think about what could happen?

 The worst that ca happen if things go wrong?

How the person in charge and others will deal with the problems? You should look at any particular responsibilities and training need.
If everyone is adequately prepared – could emergency service get to the site?

 Points to include in emergency procedures:

 Consider what might happen and how the alarm will be raised. Don’t forget night and shift working, week-ends and possibly times when the premises are closed, e.g. holidays.

Plan what to do, including how to call the emergency services. Assist the emergency services by clearly marking you premises from the road. Consider drawing up a simple plan marked with the location of hazardous items.
If you have at least 25 tons of dangerous substances you must notify the fire authority and put up warning signs.
Decide where to go to reach a place of safety or to get rescue equipment. Provide emergency lighting if necessary.
You must make sure there are enough emergency exits for everyone to escape quickly, and keep emergency doors and escape routes unobstructed and clearly marked.
Nominate competent person to take control.
Decide who the key people such as first aiders are.
Plan essential actions such as emergency plant shut-down or making processes safe. Clearly label important items like shut-off valves and electrical isolators etc.
You must train everyone in emergency procedures. Don’t forget the needs of people with disabilities.

 First Aid:

 What does OSHA say about First Aid? Click here

 Someone who can take charge in an emergency. An appointed person must be available whenever people are at work.

A first aid box
Notice telling people where the first aid box is and who the appointed person is a trained   first aider and a first aid room if your work gives rise to special hazards.

As you company grows, look again at your need for qualified first aiders. They must have the right training and are given a certificate valid for three years – after that a refresher course and re-examination is necessary.

Investigating Events

What does OSHA say about investigating events?

Take any action required to deal with the immediate risks e.g. first aid, put out the fire isolate any danger, fence off the area.
Assess the amount and kind of investigation needed – if you have to disturb the site, take photographs and measurements first
Investigate – find out what happened and why
Take steps to stop something similar happening again
Also look at near misses and property damage. Often it is only by chance that someone wasn’t injured.

Check List for Investigation:

Details of injured personnel
Details of injury, damage or loss
What was the worst that could happen? Could it happen again?
What happened? Where it happened? When it happened? And what was the direct cause?
Were there standards in place for the premises, plant, substances, procedures involved?
Were those things adequate? Where they followed?
Were the people up to the job? Were they competent, trained and instructed?
What was the underlying cause? Was there more than one?
What was meant to happen and what were the plans? How were the people organized?
If inspection would have picked up the problem earlier?
If it had happened before? If so, why weren’t the lesson learned?

Most accidents have more than one cause so don’t be too quick to blame individuals – try to deal with the root causes.


United Alliance Services  provides OSHA consulting and training services in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Let one of Professionals assist you in assuring your staff is prepared for emergency. We can assist in the development of emergency action plans, first aid and CPR training and accident investigation. To request more information on how we can help click here