The Health and Safety in Employment 1992
Act requires preparation to respond to emergencies in a place of
work, to prevent harm or potential harm, to employees. An emergency
is described as 'a sudden state of danger'. These procedures
need to be appropriate for the potential dangers of the workplace,
including management of people lawfully in the place of work.
Types of Emergencies
The hazard register is a starting point to identify the types
of potential emergency situations. For example:
- Hazardous substances responses
- Serious injury
- Bomb scare
- Cash handling - armed hold-up, robbery
- Unwelcome visitor and/or threatening behaviors
- Emergency break downs of equipment/supplies
- solation and remote location emergencies, etc.
Whatever the identified potential dangerous situation, the hazard
must be eliminated, isolated or minimised where possible, and an
action or response plan should be documented. As with any identified
hazard or procedure, training and equipment may need to be provided.
Ensure that the information remains current, is readily available
to staff and is accessible. This information should be a part of
the induction process for any new staff.
Please ensure that the physical address is known in the case
of having to provide information to emergency services.
Fire Evacuation Plans
Generally, fire is the first (and often the only) emergency considered.
The Fire and Emergency Evacuation Regulations 1992 require an evacuation
procedure for most buildings, and an approved evacuation scheme
for buildings where:
- 100 or more people can gather in a common venue or
place of assembly, whether for a commercial, social, cultural,
religious or any other
- facilities for employment are provided for more than 100
- accommodation is provided for more than 5 people, (unless
in 3 or less household units), or
- whole or part of the building is used for the storage or
processing of hazardous substances, or
- early childcare facilities are provided, (other than in a
household unit), or
- specialist care is provided for people with disability (other
than in a household unit), or
- people in lawful detention are accommodated.
The Fire Service must approve evacuation schemes, and obviously
the majority of University buildings require an approved scheme.
Approved Fire Evacuation Schemes are a written document and should
be available to key staff. The schemes identify the building warden
and fire wardens and their respective duties - you need to
know who the building warden is for your building. The blue Fire
Action signs on display in work areas clearly identify your exit
routes in the event of a fire. Fire drills are required for approved
schemes every six months.
Hazardous Substances Incidents
Wherever hazardous substances are in use, procedures must be
in place for managing a spill or accidental release of the substance.
Spill kits appropriate for the substance must be readily available,
and the individual using the substance must have the knowledge
to manage an incident. In some situations, the spill can be managed
within the laboratory. Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms
Act (HSNO), Safe Methods of Use (SMOU's) provide spill response
information. In all situations, a copy of the SMOU or safety data
sheet will need to be accessible for emergency services. Where
the substance is unknown, or beyond the capabilities of the people
present, shut the door to contain any fumes, then raise the alarm
from a safe place. Ensure that Security are called (5000) and advise
what has happened and where. Security has a contact list for expert
assistance in the case of a hazardous substance, radiation, or
biological contamination situation. If you contact the fire service,
you must also ring Security to arrange for University representatives
to be involved.
Biological & Radiation Incidents
The University has specific legislative requirements to report
and manage loss of control or containment of radioactive and/or
biological substances. Departments that are a part of the Containment
and Transitional Facility for New Organisms, and Departments that
use radiation must have specific response plans that meet the requirements
of the IBSC and Radiation Safety Plan guidelines.
First aid provision
Each work area must have first aid coverage, suitable to the
nature and location of the work being undertaken. The OSH publication
'Guidance notes on providing first aid training' recommends the
- A first aider in every place of work
- One first aider per 10 employees in places of work where
ready access to medical care or ambulance is restricted.
- Offices/shops: one first aider per 25 or part of 25.
- Consideration of services for out of hours operations, including
fieldwork, remote locations, number of people involved, etc.
A certified workplace first aider is an individual who has completed
the 2-day (16-hour) workplace first aid qualification. This qualification
requires a 2 yearly refresher course of 1 day. The courses are
arranged through the Health and Safety office, but can be provided
in the department or division if more appropriate. First aiders
are responsible for their own first aid kit, and the kit needs
to include items that are appropriate to the type of injury or
event for that work area. Specialist kits may be required (vehicles,
fieldwork, where phenol is in use, etc.).
Emergency Reponses for fieldwork must be worked out prior to
the commencement of the field trip. Consideration of the location
nature of the work and environment will indicate the type of response
required. In remote locations this will include contact with DOC
or Search and Rescue to ensure coverage and contact should the
need arise, including a process of contact and notification should
an event occur off site. Boats and Diving expeditions have specific
legislative requirements to incorporate into the response plan
as per the codes of practice.
Appendix 1: Sample Emergency Planning Format
You can download the Sample Emergency Planning Format document
in Word format.