Massachusetts has no specific law or regulation requiring employers to conduct fire drills. However, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which governs Massachusetts' occupational safety and health system, requires that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally. To ensure that the exit plan will work in an actual emergency, it is advisable to rehearse regularly with annual or semiannual drills.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires an emergency action plan to include at least the following:
- Designated monitors or guides to ensure orderly exit in emergencies
- Emergency escape procedures and escape route assignments
- Procedures for employees who must stay behind to maintain or terminate critical operations before evacuation
- Procedures for counting heads after evacuation is complete
- Rescue and medical duties for those assigned to perform them
- Reporting procedures
- Names and job titles of employees who can dispense information about the emergency action plan
- An employee alarm system
- The use of floor plans or workplace maps that clearly show the emergency escape routes
- The designation of refuge or safe areas for evacuation (e.g., parking lots or open fields away from the emergency)
Not required by OSHA, but crucial to an effective workplace plan are:
- Posting of emergency evacuation plans, illustrated if possible.
- Distribution of emergency evacuation plans, illustrated if possible.
- Regular practice in using the routes, at least twice a year.
- Periodic checks for proper functioning of alarm systems, fire ...