Workplaces need a plan for emergencies that can have an impact both internally within the business and externally affecting others.
Special procedures are needed for emergencies such as serious injuries, explosion, flooding, medical emergencies, earthquakes, fire, and chemical spills.
Quick and effective action may help to ease the situation and reduce the consequences. However, in emergencies people are more likely to respond reliably if they:
- are well trained and competent;
- take part in regular and realistic practice;
- have clearly agreed, recorded and rehearsed plans, actions and responsibilities.
Write an emergency plan if you think an incident at your workplace could involve risks to the public, rescuing employees or co-ordinating with emergency services. If you share your workplace with another employer, you should consider whether your emergency plans and procedures should be co-ordinated.
Points to include in emergency procedures:
- Consider what may happen and how the alarm will be raised. Don’t forget that you may have a night shift working, weekends and times when the premises are closed, e.g. Public holidays.
- Plan what to do, including how to call the emergency services.
- If you have dangerous substances, you must notify the Dubai Civil Defence; if an emergency occurs, have warning signs in place and all the MSDS sheets available.
- Decide where to go to reach a place of safety or to get rescue equipment. You must provide suitable forms of emergency lighting.
- You must make sure there are enough emergency exits for everyone to escape quickly, and keep emergency doors and escape routes unobstructed and clearly marked.
- Nominate competent people to take control (a competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety).
- Decide which other key people you need, such as a nominated incident controller, someone who is able to provide technical and other specific information if necessary, and first-aiders.
- You must train everyone in emergency procedures. Don’t forget the needs of people with disabilities and vulnerable workers.
- Work should not resume after an emergency if a serious danger remains and until the all clear has been given by the emergency services.
• Federal Law Number 08 of 1980 (UAE Labour Law) places specific duties on employers to inform new employees of occupational hazards and protective measures the employees must follow. Employees must also follow the instructions (procedures) given by the employer under this law.
This article is written by Paul Sumner, DMCC Senior HSE Manager; Email: HSE@dmcc.ae.