The organization is responsible to ensure that it is prepared for and can respond to emergency situations and accidents and prevent or mitigate associated adverse environmental impacts.
Having an environmental management system in place ensures that the organization has made a commitment to determine risks tied to potential emergency situations and accidents that could have an impact on the environment and how it will respond to them.
An important principle for managing a business is protecting not only your work environment from possible financial implications but also persons working under the control of the organization, saving lives, protecting the community around it, and preventing casualties and disasters.
By reviewing your operations related to emergency planning you can identify areas of concern that can be rectified, such as resource requirements (equipment, supplies) and requirements not only for training personnel but also for communicating to visitors and contractors what to do in an emergency situation.
Emergency management is the process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from an emergency. It is a dynamic process, involving planning, reviewing legal requirements, training, conducting drills, testing equipment, and coordinating activities within the community.
Your plan needs to include a review of all possible emergencies or worst-case scenarios, such as personal injury, environmental and property damage, and product and production loss emergencies. Identification of emergency situations must be an ongoing process, especially if the facility has frequent changes in materials, equipment processes, and personnel (e.g., contract workers), and required documentation must be updated, especially after the occurrence of accidents or emergency situations.
The plan will include procedures that specify personnel responsible for managing different scenarios, resource requirements, and training, from handling fires and spills to evacuation plans. Documentation needs to be posted and communicated, outlining such things as emergency phone numbers, floor plans, drawings of service conduits (gas, water), and chemical storage areas, so correct information is available to personnel.
To assist response personnel in determining and performing effective, efficient, and coordinated emergency services and responsible remedial actions quickly, reducing recovery times and costs, you need to test your plans either through mock or simulation exercises, fire drills, or training exercises.
Contact with external resources, such as utility departments, fire departments, medical services, government, neighbors, transportation, security firms, and insurance agents can assist in understanding partnerships supporting the handling of emergency situations.
There are four main interdependent components to emergency management:
1. Prevention and mitigation – to eliminate or reduce the risks
2. Preparedness – being ready to respond to an emergency prior to an event
3. Response – act during or immediately before or after a disaster to manage its consequences
4. Recovery – to repair or restore conditions to an acceptable level after the event
Focus: Environment – Prevention of Pollution
1 Do you think your organization is well prepared for emergency situations? Why or why not?
2 What types of emergencies are applicable to your organization?
3 How do you test your emergency plans at your organization?
a. What were your evacuation time scores?
b. Were the results from simulation exercises recorded?
4 What changes have you made to your emergency preparedness plan by doing tests?
a. Changes in communication
b. Review of traffic fl ow
c. Improved training for contractors
d. Improved training for security guards
e. Signage enhancement
f. Addition of other emergencies – terrorism, bullying
5 Does your emergency preparedness plan review input from your insurance reviews?
6 When you hire outside contractors as security, do they go through training on your emergency preparedness?
7 If there is a gatehouse managed by outside contractors, do they know who to contact in the event of an emergency, or what to do in the event of an emergency?
8 What emergencies could be caused by your neighbours? Do you know what risks they pose? Who to contact? Have you informed them of the risks tied with your organization?