Emergency Action Plan

The Vision Council is updating the Chemical Management and OSHA compliance resources to reflect numerous regulatory changes over the past several years. We will be sending a series of memos over the next few months, with training, templates, references, and OSHA required written programs. This fourth memo addresses OSHA's Emergency Action Plan.

An emergency action plan (EAP) is usually a written document required by particular OSHA standards. For smaller organizations (10 or fewer employees), the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally. [29 CFR 1910.38(b)] The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. The elements of the plan must include, but are not limited to:

  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform those duties
  • Names and job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan

OSHA offers an Expert User System to help you to create a simple EAP. This basic plan will be adequate for many small and medium-sized entities. This basic plan may not be adequate for large establishments or those with more significant hazards. Users in such establishments should consider the special characteristics of their workplaces. Users can supplement this basic plan to address any situations that require special attention.

Most small and medium-sized entities will get their basic plans from this system in 10 to 15 minutes. Please remember that this expert system DOES NOT save any of the information that you enter, nor the plan that it helps you to write, so you should save and print your plan when it is completed.

There is also a blank HTML version available. Please visit the OSHA Expert User Guide to obtain further instruction.

This OSHA Expert only provides information based on Federal OSHA Emergency Action Plan requirements. If you are covered by a state OSHA plan you may need to contact your local state OSHA office.

Employees must be trained annually regarding their response to the company's EAP

  • how alarm will be sounded
  • which exit routes to use to vacate the building (Emergency evacuation routes are to be posted in each work area)
  • where to assemble outside
  • when and where to shelter in place (ex: tornado warning)
  • what to do when the all clear is given to re-enter the building

The OSHA standard for emergency action plans, 29CFR 1910.38, is available by clicking on this link: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=9726&p_table=STANDARDS

NOTE: If a hazardous substance emergency could occur at your facility and you plan to have any of your employees participate in the emergency response, you are required to have an emergency response plan consistent with [29 CFR 1910.120(q)] (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response HAZWOPER). HAZWOPER requires specific training and equipment. Please consider carefully before electing to respond to hazardous substance emergencies. The required initial and annual training, and proper response equipment, may prove time and cost prohibitive for most optical labs.

In today's reality, employers should also consider developing plans for preparation and response to active shooter and bomb threat emergencies. Links to the Department of Homeland Security active shooter booklet and bomb threat planning are provided below: