AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

4 Steps to an Effective Emergency Response

It’s critical to have a strategy in place in the event of a workplace emergency. Preparation might mean the difference between minor injuries and fatalities on the job. The goal of proper emergency response is to minimize the effects of a catastrophe, save lives, and eventually return the business to normal operations. 

Here are four measures you can take to make sure your company is prepared in the event of a disaster.


Identify potential emergencies

Effective emergency management, like much of the work in the subject of safety, is founded on hazard analysis, which lays the groundwork for an emergency response plan. A hazard analysis has two purposes: first, it identifies any emergency scenarios that must be planned for, and second, it prioritizes hazards and the resources required to mitigate them.

The nature of a facility’s operations will influence the likelihood of an emergency. As a result, it’s critical for businesses to assess any and all potential emergencies, as well as the potential ramifications of those incidents. 

While a power loss at a welding fabrication shop may be considered a minor annoyance, a similar occurrence in a hospital with life support equipment has serious consequences for patient safety.

Furthermore, while some emergencies, such as these, may be evident, other, less usual emergencies, such as cybersecurity breaches, workplace suicides, and drug overdoses, should be taken into account while developing a response plan.


Develop a plan

When preparing for an emergency, everyone concerned must think about what will happen before, during, and after the occurrence. The safety professional’s primary purpose at this stage is to serve as a subject-matter expert who will assist in the development of the plan as well as identify and involve members of the emergency response team.

Three main areas should be addressed in emergency response plans:

  1. Preparation for the event: Focus on resource identification and training prior to the event. Physical resources, such as equipment and infrastructure, as well as the competencies of the individuals on-site, are included in resource identification.
  2. Focus on mitigating the occurrence with the goal of restoring normal operations to the facility. Procedures, checklists, and other guidance materials will be included for the persons specified in pre-event planning to follow.
  3. Recovery planning: Once the event has been mitigated and a level of safety has been established, focus on returning to normal activities. This involves contingency planning for infrastructure, materials, and other such items that have been harmed.


Designate roles and responsibilities

Internal and external resources will be included in an emergency response plan, and their capabilities will be used to carry out the elements listed above. The function of the on-site safety professional will be determined by both the plan and the event.

Internal resources will be cross-functional and drawn from many divisions throughout the organization. Human resources, for example, will assist with recalls, payroll, and information requests, while operations will handle the functional steps required to mitigate the occurrence. 

Logistics employees will assist in obtaining and distributing emergency response items, while the finance department will keep track of costs and legal will assist in identifying and mitigating liability.

In the event of an emergency, in addition to these ordinarily routine business obligations, certain roles must be given to provide organization and structure to the process. An incident commander, an operations section leader, and a safety officer, for example, will be required. A logistics leader, a research leader, and a public communication officer are among the other positions available.

It’s vital to keep in mind that the incident commander’s duty will shift several times during the course of an incident. Until others arrive, the first employee on the site may function as incident commander. The incident commander job will need to be shifted to relieve staff if an issue spans numerous shifts.

Engaging staff through training and drills is the key to ensuring that everyone understands their jobs and responsibilities. Employees will receive basic training on how to act in their respective roles and responsibilities, and simulations will be used to test the emergency response plan’s effectiveness.


Use external resources

It’s necessary to think about the outside emergency service organizations and agencies that will be called in to help with incident mitigation in addition to an organization’s own resources. Depending on the nature of the incident, this could include law enforcement, first responders, and HazMat personnel.

It’s critical to include these groups in the planning process so that everyone knows how they’ll be notified, what resources they can offer, what they can’t do to help mitigate the incident, and what information they’ll need once they get on-site.


Understanding risk management and assessment

We have the tools and expertise you need to improve how you assess risks in order to avoid hazards, protect personnel, and protect equipment.