There are plenty of opportunities for visitors and workers to get injured on the premises of a factory. When you factor in hazardous weather, chemical spills, earthquakes, fires and potentially dangerous intruders, these environments become even more dangerous. Factories can operate several shifts a day, and hundreds of employees and visitors can enter and exit the building in a twenty-four hour period. It is of vital importance that employers provide clear, consistently available information about how each employee and /or contractor ought to respond to any number of emergencies. Additionally, operations and personnel change frequently, so periodically review your company’s emergency plan to ensure it is updated.

When to Train

Training should be offered to employees (including temporary workers and contractors) when you develop your initial plan and to all newly hired employees. Employees should be retrained when their actions or responsibilities under the plan change or when there is a change in the layout or design of the facility, there is new equipment, hazardous materials or processes are introduced that affect evacuation routes or new types of hazards are introduced that require special actions. If no changes occur, employees should be trained annually. All training should be documented.

What to cover

  1. Educate employees about the types of emergencies that may occur and train them in the proper course of action.
  2. Ensure employees understand reporting procedures, alarm systems, evacuation plans and shutdown procedures.
  3. Discuss onsite hazards such as: flammable materials, toxic chemicals, radioactive sources and water reactive substances.
  4. Clearly indicate who will be in charge during an emergency as well as individual roles and responsibilities.
  5. Location and use of common emergency equipment.
  6. Evacuation, shelter and accountability procedures.
  7. Notification, warning and communications procedures.

Once everyone has had proper training, practice drills should be held as often as necessary to keep employees prepared. Include fire and police departments when possible. After each drill, gather management and employees to evaluate the effectiveness of the drill. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your plan and work to improve it.