Emergency management

It is important that you are fully prepared for an emergency.

Why should emergency planning take place?

The main objectives in emergency planning are to ensure that:

  • everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency; 
  • preparations for potential and unexpected incidents at the workplace have taken place: and
  • sufficient resources are available to ensure that injured persons are provided with appropriate medical attention.

What are the types of emergencies to consider when planning emergency procedures?

The types of emergencies to plan for include:

  • fire; 
  • gas leak;
  • injuries; 
  • rescues; 
  • incidents with hazardous substances; 
  • bomb threats; 
  • armed or violent confrontations; 
  • natural disasters such as floods and cyclones; and 
  • industry or workplace specific emergencies such as an underground fire or a fall of ground in mining.

Who is responsible for emergency planning in the workplace? 

Under the work health and safety legislation, the person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that there is an emergency plan in place to protect anyone on the premises in the event of an emergency.

Emergency plans procedures must be developed in consultation with workers and health and safety representatives (HSR) (if any).

In developing a plan, consideration should be given to the range of potential emergencies that could plausibly affect the workplace.

What are the requirements that must be met? 

The following is a brief checklist of the requirements for the person who has control of a workplace or control of the access to or egress from a workplace: 

  • An emergency plan for the workplace, providing for emergency procedures, testing of the emergency procedures, and information, training and instruction to relevant workers in implementing emergency procedures, including use of emergency equipment, has been prepared.
  • Emergency procedures cover responding to an emergency locating persons in the workplace, evacuation procedures, notifying emergency services, medical treatment and effective communication.
  • An evacuation procedure has been prepared. The evacuation procedure is clearly and prominently displayed at the workplace, where practicable.
  • A diagram showing the location of exits, and the position of the diagram in relation to the exits, is clearly and prominently displayed at the workplace, where practicable.
  • The evacuation procedure is practised at the workplace at reasonable intervals, where practicable.
  • The workplace is arranged so that people can safely move within it and the passages for the purposes of movement are always kept free of obstructions.
  • The means of access to and egress from the workplace enable people to move safely to and from the workplace and at all times are kept free of obstructions.
  • Emergency exits from a workplace are safe in the event of an emergency and clearly marked, for example, the exists are easily accessed and are free from obstruction.
  • Efficient portable fire extinguishers are provided. These should be located and distributed in accordance with Australian Standard, AS 2444-2001: Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets - Selection and location.
  • Fire blankets are provided where appropriate, for example in kitchens
  • Portable fire extinguishers are regularly maintained.
  • Training is provided on how to use fire extinguishers and other safety equipment to people who will be required to help control or extinguish a fire at the workplace.
  • Smoking and naked flames are banned from any part of the workplace where there are goods or materials which, in the event of a fire, are likely to burn with extreme rapidity, emit poisonous fumes or cause explosions.
  • Quantities of flammable or combustible material at the workplace are minimised.
  • The workplace is maintained in a clean condition to avoid hazards to people.
  • Rubbish, building materials and plant are stored away from footpaths and roadways at the workplace.

This checklist contains the general emergency management requirements, however the work health and safety legislation contains additional emergency management provisions for specified hazardous work, for example work in confined spaces, where fall arrest systems are in place, or in mining operations.





Last modified: