Emergencies are events that are serious incidents that are wide spread and require quick intervention in order to get them under control. The most obvious emergency is a fire, however there are a wide variety of threats that can impact your workplace or infrastructure and the people in it. This could include medical emergencies, major security incidents, structural failure and environmental spills to name a few.
Every workplace and building requires a thoughtful assessment and planning process to ensure reasonable steps have been taken to prevent the likelihood of a major incident and reduce the impact should it occur.
For workplaces, the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations places an obligation on employers to provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment. To achieve a safe working environment, it is reasonable to establish controls for the prevention and mitigation of emergencies. Some sections of the regulations are very specific on these arrangements for certain types of work, but emergency planning should form part of any workplace.
Australian Standard AS3745 – Planning for Emergencies in Facilities, sets the standard for Emergency Planning. Its application goes beyond just workplaces, and includes any buildings and structures occupied by people, with the exception of Class 1a buildings (unless they are used as a workplace).
The standards are put together in consultation with subject matter experts and do just that – set a standard. In the case of AS3745, it outlines a means of controlling emergencies. While not an Act or Regulation, if you follow the standard, you can ensure compliance with laws such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act as it is deemed to be a reasonable level of control.
You can deviate from the standard, but you need to be able to demonstrate a system that is as good or better.
There are a lot of elements in emergency planning, but it is not to say it needs to be a complicated process. In fact, it is important to keep things as easy as possible for an effective emergency response. The nature and scope largely depends on the building or workplace it applies to, but generally speaking some of the common elements include:
Geokal can help you with all elements of emergency planning, to ensure a robust plan for minimising the chance of a major incident and mitigating its consequences should one occur. We can help with any or all steps including:
Contact us to discuss your requirements.