White Card Update: Importance of Emergency Response Procedures on Site

Regardless of how “safe” a site may be or how OHS conscious an employer, accidents do happen and it only takes a split second for an accident to turn into a full blown emergency. That is precisely why every site should have an emergency response procedure in place because when something goes wrong, you don’t have a lot of time to make decisions about what to do.

Accidents happen fast, which is what makes them so hard to avoid and time to assess the accident and make a decision as to what to do next is limited. An emergency plan made clear to workers will ensure that they know what to do in an emergency to prevent any further damage or loss of life.

It is important to be aware of appropriate emergency response procedures on the particular construction site and site specific safety training should be provided for each worker on a construction site so that they are well aware of these procedures. An event, crisis or incident that calls for immediate action and may result in injury or death constitutes an emergency and due to the limited time to react in these situations workers must instinctively know what to do.

In any emergency, whether on site or at home there are 3 basic steps which should be remembered even if your safety training is forgotten.

1.       Remain Calm

2.       Raise the alarm

3.       Get help

Your site specific training should provide workers with details of evacuation procedures, location of first aid, evacuation assembly points, emergency phone numbers and anything else you need to know about the specific sites emergency policies.

Site inductions are mandatory under OHS regulations so workers must pay attention to them and comply with the site’s policies and safety procedures.

According to legislature construction employers need to have emergency response plans in place that are site specific and consider all stages of the construction project in its inception. Another important thing to consider is the ability and ease with which emergency services can access the place of the emergency. Employers must consider all possible scenarios and develop a control strategy for each situation that may arise and what to do in the event of these situations. This will vary from site to site because each site is specific and has different hazards which need to be controlled.

When developing the emergency plan, employers also need to consider details such as the nearest medical facilities that workers can be rushed to in an emergency and first aid provisions and procedures for when the relevant emergency services may not respond or be able to deal with the emergency need to be addressed.

The emergency response plan should be reviewed regularly and in addition to being trained on these procedures, workers must have constant access to this information on the site.

If you remember nothing else about your site’s emergency plan remember to stay calm, raise the alarm and get help.