Emergency Preparedness & Response
Most organisations recognise the need to plan for and even rehearse emergency response. If you were to conduct an environmental or safety audit of one of these organisations, they would provide you with procedures, flowcharts, emergency contact telephone numbers and evidence of evacuation drills.
The Insignificant Few
However, in the vast majority of cases all preparedness activities are focused on one or two emergency scenarios, typically fire and bomb threat. This is an interesting situation because, for most organisations, these scenarios are neither the most likely nor the most significant emergencies they are likely to face. So what should they be managing?
The Forgotten Emergencies
An obvious example which is often overlooked is a serious medical emergency. Whether through injury or illness, the emergency treatment of employee, contractor or visitor is probably a scenario relevant to most organisations. All workplaces in Australia are required to take a risk approach to assessing their first aid resourcing, however many leave it at that. The majority of their first aiders get no opportunity to put their skills to use outside of the practical assessment they undertake as part of their training course and first aiders play little to no role in most emergency drills.
This is just one example. There are many other scenarios not seriously considered by most organisations.
It is equally important that organisations do not indiscriminately plan for every conceivable situation but instead to determine what potential emergencies deserve a share of the company’s limited resources.
Risk Management Approach
OSHEM Solutions advocates that clients adopt a risk management approach to their emergency preparedness. This means identifying all possible emergency scenarios, then using a risk assessment to decide which are relevant and require additional controls, possibly including response procedures and rehearsal, and which are less relevant and therefore do not justify the need for further attention at this time. Depending upon the nature and complexity of the operation, this process can be carried out using internal resources or through an external facilitator like and OSHEM Solutions consultant.
By undertaking such an approach, not only does the organisation demonstrate a systematic and proactive approach to emergency preparedness and response but it also further develops a risk management “manage what matters” culture.
OSHEM Solutions provides a range of Environmental & Safety Risk Management services. To read more click on Services. Or Contact us for an obligation free discussion on how we can assist your organisation manage its emergency response.