Resource Newsletter
February 2013

Emergency plans – does your workplace need them?

The standard definition of an emergency goes something like this: "a sudden unforeseen crisis, usually involving danger, that requires immediate action." Most workplace emergencies fit this definition, but not all of them.

For example, a health-related crisis – such as a flu pandemic – may not happen suddenly or require immediate action but it could become an emergency over days or weeks. Unlike most personal emergencies, workplace emergencies require an immediate, coordinated response from many individuals in an organization who may have little information about the crisis.

It's a good idea to plan for workplace emergencies because the more prepared you are the more likely you – and your co-workers – will respond correctly when you have to deal with one. Does Oregon OSHA require your workplace to prepare an emergency plan? The answer depends on whether "another Oregon OSHA standard" requires you to prepare one. Sound like a Catch-22? Don't worry. Here's what you need to know.

Oregon OSHA has two general-industry rules that cover emergency plans: Emergency action plans (437-002-0042) sets requirements for evacuations and reporting emergencies and Fire prevention plans (437-002-0043) establishes procedures for controlling fire hazards. Whether you need to prepare one (or both) of these plans depends on "other" Oregon OSHA rules. What are the rules? They're in the table on the next page: ... continued

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