It is important to keep your Emergency Action Plan or Contingency Plan up to date. Don’t wait for the plan to fail in an emergency situation before you update it.
Emergency Action Plans and Contingency Plans are required by various regulations, including OSHA 29 CFR1910.38 and 157, Massachusetts Board of Fire Prevention 527 CMR 33, and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 310 CMR 30. It is important to know if your facility is required to have an Emergency Action Plan or a Contingency Plan because regulators will look for the appropriate implementation during inspections. All employees must have access to the written plan and be informed of the contents. It is good practice to hold drills for the various emergency situations that could arise at your site so employees are familiar with the response procedures. It is nearly impossible to predict how individuals will respond in a true emergency situation so providing an opportunity to practice is key to successful implementation.
Remember that it is not sufficient to develop a written plan, put it on a shelf, and never look at it again. The Emergency Action Plan must be tailored as programs change and companies grow. Any major changes such as a newly designated Emergency Coordinator or modification to the rally point should be reflected immediately. Also consider less obvious alterations to the program including the introduction of new hazards to the facility, increased chemical use resulting in altered spill potentials, or modifications to waste storage locations. If any part of the written plan fails in an emergency situation, the plan must be reviewed and revised immediately to reflect the appropriate response measures.