How would you escape from the workplace in an emergency and do you know where the assembly area is? What if your first choice is unusable? Where is the next best option? Are you sure doors will be unlocked and the exit access – such as a hallway – will not be blocked during a fire, explosion, or other crisis?
Being properly prepared can keep you safe and uninjured if/when an emergency were to happen.
An exit route is a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety.
An exit route consists of three parts:
• Exit access - The portion of an exit route that leads to an exit.
• Exit - The portion of an exit route that is generally separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge.
• Exit discharge - The part of the exit route that leads directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside.
The minimum elements to include in an emergency action plan include:
- Procedures for reporting fires and other emergencies.
- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including the type of evacuation and exit route assignments.
- Procedures for employees who stay behind to continue critical plant operations.
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation.
- Procedures for employees performing rescue or medical duties.
- Name or job title of employees to contact for detailed plan information.
- Alarm system to alert workers.
Always ensure that the safeguards that are put into place to protect employees in an emergency remain in good working order.