Risk Assesment and Preparation Of Emergency Action Plans

The foundation of any responsible risk-management strategy for one’s business or organization lies first and foremost in the recognition of risks, followed by the thoughtful preparation of clear and organized response plans, should any of those risks manifest themselves in an emergency event.

While many business managers and organizational leaders often rely on a “gut feeling” regarding their prioritization of risks, combined with a vague sense of strategies that they might attempt to activate as a response, such efforts are rarely sufficient- much less optimal- in times of an actual emergency.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates under 29 CFR 1910.38 (a) that employers maintain an emergency action plan, (EAP) keeping a written copy at the workplace available to employees for review. * (An employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees.) The purpose of a properly structured EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies, so that everyone will understand their respective roles and responsibilities during an emergency event, thus minimizing injuries and property damage. Conversely, a poorly-prepared plan will likely lead to a disorganized evacuation or confused emergency response, with a higher probability of injuries and more extensive property damage.


Risk Assesment

The first part of developing strong Emergency Action Plans (EAP’s) lies in the identification of those specific risks that potentially threaten the viability of your operations. In doing so, we will work with you to assess both the probability of a specific risk-occurrence, as well as helping to quantify the magnitude of potential impact. Whether your business or organization seeks assistance in developing a formalized Risk Register, to be used as an ongoing management tool in prioritizing budgeted mitigation efforts, or simply seeks to develop a ranked list of the “most probable emergency scenarios” likely to be experienced at your site, Hoffman Consulting can gather and distill the information necessary to make those determinations.

EAP Preparation

Once we’ve determined the list of potential emergencies that could reasonably be anticipated to occur at your site, it’s now time to develop a series of clear, specific response-plans addressing each type of major scenario. Each EAP document is event-specific, and is designed to empower your managers and staff by offering clear direction to guide their actions. The EAP’s drafted and provided to your organization will be formatted under a template that has been developed specifically for your organization, allowing you to formulate and add additional EAP’s to your emergency-management library, should additional risks be identified in the future. More importantly, the standard EAP for each potential event is structured in such a manner as to list clear authority, chain-of-command, specific response actions for each level of management and staff, and any other ancillary information necessary such as evacuation-maps and facility diagrams, special-consideration appendices, etc.

Lastly, all plan documents will reflect any training necessary and policy-receipt/acknowledgement mechanisms that have been enacted, thus ensuring compliance with the aforementioned OSHA Emergency Action Plan Standard.

Emergency Action Plans that we have drafted and implemented across a wide range of businesses and organizations include:

  • Facility Evacuation
  • Information-Systems Breach
  • Lightning Strike
  • Medical Emergency
  • Volcanic Eruption
  • Flood
  • Bomb Threat
  • Aircraft Down
  • Biohazard Exposure
  • Pandemic Preparedness and Response
  • Vehicle Accident / Transportation Emergency
  • Armed Robbery
  • Major Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Wildfire Preparedness and Response
  • Hazardous Materials Spill
  • Underground Ground-Fall
  • Power Outage
  • Active Shooter

Training and Acknowledgement

One thing that we feel rather strongly about here at Hoffman Consulting: The creation of a lovely, functional, and organized binder of EAP’s that’s going to sit on a shelf and gather dust, with its contents largely unknown to managers and employees, does NOT do your organization any good!

Once you’ve had a functional collection of EAP’s created for your site, it’s critical that everyone who works there becomes thoroughly familiar with their roles and responsibilities under each plan scenario. However, there’s some good news for you here! As all of the EAP’s that we develop are done in close cooperation with you and your staff, referencing the specific site-characteristics and management-structure of your enterprise, chances are that you already possess the expertise necessary within your organization to effectively orient and train your employees in any newly-developed procedures.

That being said, you may decide to structure more formalized training with your employees in the potential execution of your plans, from setting up virtual, time-compressed “table-top” exercises to running full-scale training events where physical resources are mobilized. If you wish to pursue such activities, Hoffman Consulting is highly experienced in the preparation of all phases of exercise stage-documents, and in the facilitation and monitoring of such exercises. (See Services, Section 3: Training)

Does your business meet the current OSHA Emergency Plan Standard?