Emergency Action Plans


Emergency Action Plans
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires
companies to develop emergency action plans when a specific OSHA
standard requires their development using the guidelines found in 29 CFR
1926.35. Standards that include references to emergency action plans
include 29 CFR 1926.64 relating to highly hazardous chemical storage,
manufacturing, handling or movement of toxic, reactive, flammable or
explosive chemicals and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency
Response (HAZWOPER) requirements under 29 CFR 1926.65—operations
involving cleanup, emergency response and corrective actions involving
hazardous wastes.
According to the standard, if a company employs fewer than 11 people, the
program does not have to be in written form; however, many general
contractors and building owners require a written emergency action plan,
regardless of company size or applicability of OSHA standards.
This chapter outlines what is required by the OSHA standard, including the
elements of an emergency action plan and training requirements. The end of
this chapter contains a sample plan that can be used to help shape a
company’s individual plan.
Action Plan Elements
OSHA requires that the information listed below be included in an action
plan. Some of the elements can be generic while others need to be site-
specific. The italicized portions describe the issues a contractor needs to
consider when developing the action plan.
 Emergency evacuation plans, which include escape procedures and
escape route assignments. This needs to be addressed on a project-
by-project basis because there can be no generic plan for escape
routes with the variety of roofing locations and layouts. For example,
an emergency evacuation plan for a high-rise office building will differ
greatly from one for a residential dwelling.
 Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate
critical plant operations before evacuation. This procedure is intended
to shut down critical operations that may make a situation even more
hazardous. This may be a consideration for hot bitumen or similar
applications because propane tanks are involved. There may be a
need to shut down propane tanks at the cylinder before evacuating
the site. Electrical tools can ignite a fire if a fuel, such as gasoline, is
spilled. Again, this will need to be addressed on a project-by-project


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