The OSHA Emergency Action Plan Requirement Checklist

by | Apr 29, 2024

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization tasked with keeping employees safe across the USA. One of their requirements is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), which is an important part of any organization’s disaster response framework.

Businesses and organizations must create their own EAPs, as each location may have very different disasters given the geographical area and potential hazards onsite. Therefore, OSHA mandates the minimum requirements of each organization’s EAP, leaving the specifics up to the organization.

What Is An Emergency Action Plan?

An Emergency Action Plan is a document that outlines standard procedures in the event of an emergency. In particular, it covers evacuation procedures and assembly areas, which may be unique to the type of disaster experienced. For example, in the event of a fire, employees may use a specific evacuation route and assembly area, while in the event of workplace violence, employees may be safer using a different route to a different location.

For additional information, including NFPA Fire Code requirements for an EAP, read our post on What Are Emergency Action Plans.

Minimum Requirements of an Emergency Action Plan

OSHA’s standard 1910.38 outlines each Emergency Action Plan requirement. In this section, they list the minimum elements that must be included in your plan. To maintain OSHA compliance, your plan must include:

  • How to report a fire or other emergency
  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including the exit route
  • Any procedures for critical operations that must be performed prior to evacuation
  • How to account for all employees following an evacuation
  • Rescue or medical duty procedures performed by employees
  • Either the name or the job title of employees that can be contacted for more information about the EAP

These are broad requirements, and many EAPs include much more information than what is listed here. Thorough EAPs will consider the chain of command for evacuation orders, procedures to account for visitors or customers, designated wardens to do a final check for personnel before exiting the building, and more.

Other Emergency Action Plan Requirements from OSHA 1910.38

The OSHA standard also lists minimum requirements for EAP communication and training. These include:

  • The EAP must be kept on site, in writing, and readily available for employees to review. There is an exception for businesses with 10 or fewer employees. In this case, the EAP can be communicated verbally.
  • The employer must maintain an alarm system, with distinct alarms for specific purposes.
  • The employer must have designated employees trained to help other employees evacuate.
  • Each employee must review the EAP when they are hired, when the plan is developed, when their EAP responsibilities change, and/or when you update your Emergency Action Plan.

Keeping employees safe is a critical task for any employer. Training and drills are both great ways to keep evacuation smooth and orderly, but they often interrupt productivity. Another way to keep evacuation information easily accessible and fresh in employee memory is to post clear, intuitive safety maps in central areas of the workplace.

Improve Your EAP with Clear, Readable Safety Maps

Safety maps offer visual clarity to ease evacuation concerns for both employees and visitors. Many people will instinctively want to leave the way they entered, but very few people will instinctively know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher, or the location of a severe weather shelter. A clear evacuation map will not replace your EAP, but rather will work in tandem to accentuate your OSHA-compliant evacuation procedures.

The illustrators at Building Maps are familiar with many codes and standards required for evacuation and safety, including OSHA, NFPA, ICC, and more. We have experience creating simple, easy-to-understand maps that can help save lives in an emergency. If you’re ready to clarify your Emergency Action Plan with a safety map, just contact us to request a quote today!

Tony Jones

About the Author: Tony Jones, CFPS, is the owner and founder of Building Maps. He is a safety mapping and code compliance expert. Tony holds his work to the highest standard because he knows “it’s not just a map, it’s about saving lives.”

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