Emergency Action Plans laws & safety compliance analysis

Emergency Action Plans: What you need to know

The purpose of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions, including evacuations, during a workplace emergency. An employer (i.e., property owner or occupier) must have an EAP for its facilities whenever a specific OSHA standard requires one. For example, an EAP is required at any facility where employees are required to evacuate when a fire alarm is sounded. Employers at facilities with fixed extinguishing systems and fire detection systems must also develop an EAP. OSHA strongly recommends that all businesses have an EAP.

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Processes or activities that require EAPs. Facilities or operations regulated under the following OSHA standards are  required to have written EAPs:

  • 1910.119-Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
  • 1910.157-Portable Fire Extinguishers (if employees are not trained in the use of extinguishers and are required to evacuate)
  • 1910.160--Fixed Extinguishing Systems, General
  • 1910.164--Fire Detection Systems
  • 1910.165-Employee Alarm Systems
  • 1910.272--Grain Handling
  • 1910.1047-Ethylene Oxide
  • 1910.1050-Methylenedianiline
  • 1910.1051-1,3 Butadiene

Emergency plans for unique operations. There are regulatory requirements to develop written emergency procedures or plans for a unique type of workplace or operation. For example, workplaces where employees may be exposed to such specific hazardous chemicals as cadmium, benzene, vinyl chloride, and formaldehyde must develop written plans for dealing with emergency situations involving releases of such substances. Special operations, such as operating powered platforms and working in confined spaces, require written plans for handling emergencies. See the Emergency Preparedness section for more information.

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