The following information will help you
prepare for potential emergencies if you determine that your
facility fits into the Yellow or Red Zones on the Anthrax
Risk Reduction Matrix (such as if your facility has a credible
risk of anthrax exposure):
An emergency action plan
(EAP) describes the actions employees should take to ensure
their safety if a fire or other emergency situation occurs.
Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training
(such that employees understand their roles and
responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and
less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to
the facility during emergencies. A poorly prepared plan is
likely to lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency
response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage.
If your facility fits into the Yellow Zone on the Anthrax
Risk Reduction Matrix (such as if your facility has a credible risk of
anthrax exposure), you should add anthrax-specific information to
your EAP. This may include:
The following eTool link provides information
on how to write and implement an EAP (including OSHA's Expert
System, which will help you write your own EAP):
- Emergency identification: Provide
guidance on how to recognize a potential emergency situation
(such as an anthrax threat or release, suspicious mail,
- Initial actions: Upon identification
of a potential anthrax threat or release:
- Do not panic.
- Isolate contaminated areas.
- Minimize exposure to others.
- Turn off local fans or ventilation units and shut down the
air handling system in the building, if possible.
- Keep track of people who may have come into contact with
the anthrax. Give this list to both the local public health
authorities and law enforcement officials.
- Notify the proper authorities once
the area has been isolated.
- Call 9-1-1 for local fire and
law enforcement assistance. Call the Federal Protective
Service if your building is managed by GSA.
- Notify the National Response Center at
(800) 424-8802. The NRC will notify the appropriate
parties responsible for aiding in mitigation of these
- Contact the owner or operator of the facility.
- Notification: A description of
the alarm system to be used to notify employees (including
disabled employees) to evacuate and/or take other actions.
- Evacuation policy: An
evacuation policy, procedures, and escape route assignments so
employees understand who is authorized to order an evacuation,
under what conditions an evacuation would be necessary, how to
evacuate, and what routes to take.
- Account for employees:
Procedures to account for employees after the evacuation to
ensure that everyone got out.
- Organizational structure: Define
an organizational structure that defines the roles and
responsibilities of employees in the event of an emergency.
- Employee training: A
description of how employees will be informed of the contents of
the plan and trained in their roles and responsibilities.
- Contact information: The
names, titles, departments, and phone numbers of employees who
can be contacted for additional information or clarification of
some aspect of the plan.
- Off-hour contacts: A list of
key personnel who should be contacted during off-hours
- Emergency drills: Conduct
emergency drills to help ensure that the actions outlined in the
EAP are carried out properly and safely.
light of the terrorist attacks involving anthrax being transported
through mail and packages, mail handling has become a concern for
many employees and facilities. If your facility fits into the
Yellow Zone of the Anthrax
Risk Reduction Matrix (your facility has a credible risk of
anthrax exposure), the following mail handling information may be
Upon discovery of a suspicious package, the
Action Plan should be implemented.
Information About How To Recognize and Handle a Suspicious
Package or Envelope [95 KB PDF, 2 pages]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health
Advisory, CDCHAN-00050-01-10-31-ADV-N, (2001, October 31).
- Protect Your Workplace: Learn All About Suspicious Packages. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), (2006, September 20). Describes the new poster developed through the joint efforts of four federal agencies—the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS); the US Postal Service and its Postal Inspection Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI.
- Mail Security Center. United States Postal Service.
- Video: Protecting Your Health for People Who Process,
Sort, and Deliver the Mail. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Foundation, Bioterrorism/Emergency
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at 202-693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.