- Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Evacuation & Shelter-in-Place
Emergency Preparedness and Response: Getting Started
Evacuation & Shelter-in-Place
Emergency evacuations are more common than many people realize, including evacuations in the workplace. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most frequent causes of evacuations in the U.S. each year are fires and floods. In addition, a wide variety of emergencies, both man-made and natural, may require a workplace to be evacuated. These emergencies may include explosions, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, hazardous/toxic material releases, radiological and biological accidents, civil disturbances and workplace violence.
Emergency Evacuation is the immediate and urgent movement of people away from a threat or actual occurrence of a hazard.
This web page provides workers and employers guidance on planning for safe evacuations and shelter-in-place procedures during emergencies that may affect their workplace.
Deciding whether to shelter-in-place or evacuate to safety (i.e., get away from a threat or hazard) is among the most important decisions that must be made during an emergency. Employers should understand and plan for both scenarios. In any emergency, the local authorities may or may not be able to provide information immediately to assess the situation. Employers should consider how the situation might impact workers sheltering-in-place at a job site versus workers attempting to evacuate to safety.
If local authorities or the on-scene coordinator (e.g., incident commander or other official in charge) specifically give instructions to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately. In very hazardous situations, local officials may require mandatory evacuations. During other times, local officials may advise, or workers and employers may decide, to evacuate to avoid situations they believe are potentially dangerous.
Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet often for information or official instructions as it becomes available. Additionally, specific instructions and guidance from local officials may also be provided through mass media, sirens or other public address/alert systems, text alerts, emails, or telephone calls.
Develop a Plan Ahead of Time
Many disasters are no-notice events, meaning that there is no warning before they occur. These types of events do not allow time for people to gather even the most basic necessities. Therefore, pre-planning is critical.
Workers may need to be trained to respond differently to different threats. For example, workers may be required to assemble in one area inside the workplace if threatened by a tornado or on an adjacent highway if threatened by a chemical spill. Moreover, a fire may require workers to evacuate to a pre-determined exterior location.
Emergency evacuation plans are developed to ensure the safest and most efficient evacuation. The evacuation plan must identify when and how workers are to respond to different types of emergencies. When developing the plan, it is important to ask questions and plan for worst-case scenarios. What would happen if the worksite caught fire, the nearby river flooded, or a chemical release occurred in the facility?
When developing an emergency action plan, it is important to determine:
- Conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary
- Conditions under which it may be better to shelter-in-place
- A clear chain of command and designation of the person in the workplace authorized to order an evacuation or shutdown
- Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
- Specific evacuation procedures for workers in buildings (including high-rise buildings)
- Specific evacuation procedures and responsibilities for employers in buildings (including high-rise buildings)
- Specific evacuation procedures on construction sites or non-fixed facilities
- Procedures for assisting visitors and workers to evacuate
- Designation of which, if any, workers will remain after the evacuation alarm to shut down critical operations or perform other duties before evacuating
- A means of accounting for workers after an evacuation
- Special equipment for workers, such as appropriate respiratory protection
- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Procedures that address special needs workers, such as those that may have physical limitations
- Any special actions for evacuation during an active shooter or other dangerous intruder situation
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document required by some OSHA standards (including 29 CFR 1910.38(a) and 29 CFR 1926.35) to help facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. See OSHA's Emergency Action Plan Checklist for more assistance in developing an EAP.
When to Evacuate
The emergency evacuation plan should identify the different types of situations that will require an evacuation of the workplace. As mentioned before, these may include explosions; earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters; releases of chemical, radioactive, or biological agents; and civil disturbances and workplace violence. The extent of evacuation may be different for different types of hazards.
The type of building employees work in may be a factor in the decision to evacuate during an emergency. Most buildings are vulnerable to the effects of disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, or explosions. The extent of the damage depends on the type of emergency and the building's construction. Modern factories and office buildings, for example, are framed in steel and may be more structurally sound than older structures. In a major disaster, however, nearly every type of structure will be affected. Some buildings will collapse and others will be left with weakened floors, walls, and roofs.
Evacuations during an Active Shooter or other Dangerous Intruder Situation
Active shooter and other dangerous intruder situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation. Evacuation may be one option during an active shooter situation. This web page also describes sheltering in place during an active shooter situation in the "Shelter-in-Place" section below.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides the following guidance for evacuation during an active shooter situation:
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:
- Have an escape route and plan in mind
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
- Leave your belongings behind
- Help others escape, if possible
- Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
- Keep your hands visible
- Follow the instructions of any police officers
- Do not attempt to move wounded people
- Call 911 when you are safe
For more information, visit DHS's website for Active Shooter Preparedness.
Clear Chain of Command
It is common practice to select a responsible individual, with appropriate training or certifications, to lead and coordinate the workplace emergency plan and evacuation. It is critical that the employer ensures that the workers know the identity of the coordinator, as well as understand that the coordinator has the responsibility for making life saving decisions during an emergency. The coordinator should be responsible for assessing the situation to determine whether an emergency exists, activating the emergency procedures, overseeing emergency procedures, notifying and coordinating with outside emergency services, and directing the shutdown of utilities or plant operations, if necessary.
Routes and Exits
Most employers create floor diagrams with arrows that designate all exit route(s). These diagrams should include locations of exits, assembly points, and equipment (such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and spill kits) that may be needed in an emergency.
Exit routes must be:
- Clearly marked and well lit
- Wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel
- Unobstructed at all times
- Unlikely to expose evacuating personnel to additional hazards
- Designed to avoid potentially hazardous areas or operations
For more information on exit routes, required heights and widths for ceilings and exit routes, and door access and hinges, see Design and Construction Requirements for Exit Routes.
When preparing drawings that show evacuation routes and exits, employers should post them prominently for all workers to see. See OSHA's floor plan diagram example and OSHA's interactive floor plan demonstration for more information.
The Maintenance, Safeguards, and Operational Features for Exit Routes section of OSHA's Evacuation eTool provides additional information about exit route safety.
What should Employers Do Before and During an Emergency Evacuation?
When there is an emergency, getting workers out of buildings (including high-rise buildings) may pose challenges. Preparing in advance to safely evacuate the building is critical to the safety of workers who work there.
Before an emergency occurs:
- Employers must ensure doors are not locked from the inside and ensure that doorways, hallways, and stairways remain unobstructed or unblocked at all times (see 29 CFR 1910.36(d) and 29 CFR 1910.37(a)).
- Regularly test all back-up systems and safety systems, such as emergency lighting and communication systems, and repair them as needed.
- Develop a workplace evacuation plan, post it prominently on each floor, and review it periodically to ensure its effectiveness.
- Identify and train floor wardens, including back-up personnel, who will be responsible for sounding alarms and helping to evacuate workers.
- Conduct emergency evacuation drills periodically.
- Establish designated meeting locations outside the building for workers to gather following an evacuation. The locations should be a safe distance from the building and in an area where people can assemble safely without interfering with emergency response teams.
- Identify personnel with special needs or disabilities who may need help evacuating and assign one or more people, including back-up personnel, to help them during an emergency.
- Ensure that during off-hour periods, systems are in place to notify, evacuate, and account for off-hour building occupants.
- Post emergency numbers on or near telephones.
Some businesses may be required to establish Emergency Action Plans meeting certain requirements (see 29 CFR 1910.38 and OSHA's compliance policy for emergency action plans and fire prevention plans, CPL 2-1.037, for more information).
When an emergency occurs:
- Sound appropriate alarms and instruct workers to leave the building.
- Notify police, firefighters, building security, and other appropriate emergency personnel.
- Ensure a person is designated to account for workers at pre-determined meeting locations, and promptly notify emergency response personnel of any workers that are absent.
- Report to arriving responders the incident location, conditions, and the status of occupants (including any missing workers).
- Ensure that routes for emergency vehicles and paths for emergency responder access are clear.
- Inform arriving emergency responders of the incident location and conditions.
- Have knowledgeable workers available to advise emergency responders.
What should Workers Know Before and Do During an Emergency Evacuation?
What should workers know before an emergency occurs?
- Be familiar with the worksite's emergency evacuation plan.
- Know the pathway to at least two exits from every room/area at the workplace.
- Recognize the sound/signaling method of the evacuation or other alarms and their different meanings.
- Understand who to contact in an emergency, as well as the specific procedures they will be expected to use.
- Know how many desks or cubicles are between their workstations and two of the nearest exits to escape in the dark, if necessary.
- Know where the fire/evacuation alarms are located and how to use them.
- Report damaged or malfunctioning safety systems and back-up systems.
- Report changes in health that may affect their ability to safely evacuate, to their supervisor.
What should workers do when an emergency occurs?
- Listen carefully for instructions over the building's internal communication system and follow the instructions.
- When instructed, leave the area quickly, but in an orderly manner, following the work site's emergency evacuation plan.
- Do not use elevators when evacuating a burning building, unless they are properly designed and designated "occupant evacuation elevators."
- Report to the designated meeting place, and ensure they make contact with the person charged with worker accountability.
- Do not re-enter the building until directed to do so by authorities.
What should workers do if trapped?
- Stay calm and take steps to protect yourself.
- Go to a room with an outside window.
- Use a telephone/cell phone to call for help if possible.
- Stay where rescuers can see you and wave a light-colored cloth to attract attention.
- Specifically, during fire events:
- Go directly to the nearest fire- and smoke-free stairwell, recognizing that in some circumstances the only available exit route may contain smoke or fire.
- Crawl low, under the smoke, to breathe cleaner air. Test doors for heat before opening them by placing the back of your hand against the door so you do not burn your palm and fingers. Do not open a hot door. Find another exit route. Keep "fire doors" closed to slow the spread of smoke and fire.
- Stuff wet clothing, towels, or newspapers around the cracks in doors to prevent smoke from entering your room.
- Do not open or break windows unless absolutely necessary. Doing so could draw heat or smoke towards you.
This section covers only some of the basic considerations for safe evacuation. High-rise buildings may have unique characteristics involving location, design, construction, and occupancy to be taken into consideration. This information is not a substitute for a site-specific evacuation program nor does it detail specific OSHA or OSHA-approved State Plan standards that may be applicable to individual work sites.
OSHA's "Evacuating High-Rise Buildings" Fact Sheet provides all of these tips in a downloadable format.
Employers should also be familiar with the consensus standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other standards-setting organizations such as the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These organizations provide additional recommendations and requirements on evacuations and emergency planning. Furthermore, there may be additional state and local fire and building codes that employers must follow. Visit their websites for more information.
Evacuation Procedures on Construction Sites or Non-Fixed Facilities
Typical construction site locations and the workers on such job sites are constantly changing, which in turn poses unique challenges during emergency evacuations. In this section, there are some specific emergency evacuation procedures for construction sites. An evacuation plan should meet the requirements of OSHA's Employee Emergency Action Plans standard (29 CFR 1926.35).
Construction employers subject to 29 CFR 1926.35 (including at multi-employer worksites) are required to establish a plan for the types of evacuation to be used in an emergency. Every attempt should be made to ensure that all exposed employees are safely evacuated in the event of an emergency. Employers subject to 29 CFR 1926.35 must designate and train personnel to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of employees.
All employers should ensure:
- All workers on the site are trained and aware of evacuation alarms, evacuation routes, and emergency assembly areas
- Personnel are designated who will sound the evacuation alarms
- The primary routes needed for egress and for responding emergency vehicles are not blocked
- Personnel are designated who will be responsible for making sure the job site /structure is cleared of all workers
- A head count is taken at the assembly areas to account for all workers
- Personnel are designated to notify emergency services/facilities during any emergency activity that warrants an evacuation
- Workers do not re-enter the job site/structure without clear indication that the area/facility is safe for re-entry
- Workers do not leave the job site (emergency assembly area) unless advised to do so by a designated foreman/supervisor
- Designated personnel are certified or trained in rescue and medical duties to promptly respond to identified emergencies
Effective method(s) of alerting and communicating with workers is a critical element on construction sites. These communication methods must be understood by all workers. It is recommended that employers train and drill workers (including contractors) and volunteers on these emergency communication methods and procedures to reduce injuries and fatalities, thereby saving lives on the job site.
Types of Alarm Systems that may be used on a construction site include:
- Verbal Communication
- Vehicle Horn
- Air Horns
- Cell Phone
- Hand Signal
An emergency action plan on a construction site must be developed but may also require modification as conditions at the worksite change. All workers should be adequately trained on the importance of effective communication during emergencies, including those involving worksite evacuations. Training should be provided when the workers are initially assigned to the site and whenever there is a change on the site, which would affect the plan.
Assisting Visitors and Workers to Evacuate
Many employers designate individuals as evacuation wardens to help move workers from danger to safe areas during an emergency. Generally, one warden for every 20 workers should be adequate, and the appropriate number of wardens should be available at all times during working hours.
Wardens may be responsible for checking offices, bathrooms, and other spaces before being the last person to exit an area. They might also be tasked with ensuring that fire doors are closed when exiting. All workers designated to assist in emergency evacuation procedures should be trained in the complete workplace layout and various alternative escape routes if the primary evacuation route becomes blocked.
Workers designated to assist in emergencies should be made aware of workers with special needs (who may require extra assistance during an evacuation), how to use and instruct others to use the buddy system, and any hazardous areas to avoid during an emergency evacuation. Special tools such as evacuation chairs are available and may be used to assist workers with special needs.
Visitors also should be accounted for following an evacuation and may need additional assistance when exiting. Some employers require all visitors and contractors to sign in when entering the workplace; employers then use this list when accounting for all persons in the assembly area. The hosts and/or area wardens, if established, are often tasked with helping visitors safely evacuate.
OSHA recommends that employers coordinate their action plan with other employers that share the same worksite.
Workers Who May Remain at the Worksite Before Evacuating
Some businesses may require designated workers to remain behind briefly to operate fire extinguishers or shut down gas, electrical, and other systems or special equipment that could be damaged or create additional hazards to emergency responders (such as releasing hazardous materials) if left operating. Employers may be required to comply with OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard (29 CFR 1910.120) when workers are expected to perform shut down processes.
Each employer must review its business operations and processes and determine whether total and immediate evacuation is possible for various types of emergencies, or whether shutdown procedures are necessary. The preferred approach, and the one most often taken by small businesses, is immediate evacuation of all workers when the decision is made to evacuate. Larger industrial operations may have special fire brigades or emergency response units trained to undertake shutdown and other emergency procedures when other workers need to evacuate.
All workers remaining behind must be capable of recognizing when to abandon the operation or task and evacuate before the egress (exit) path is blocked. In small establishments, it is common to include in the plan locations where utilities (such as electrical and gas) can be shut down for all or part of the facility, by either workers or emergency response personnel.
Accounting for Workers after an Evacuation
To ensure the fastest, most accurate accountability of all workers, consider including these steps in the workplace emergency evacuation plan:
- Designate assembly areas both inside and outside the workplace. Assembly locations within the building are often referred to as "areas of refuge." Make sure that each assembly area has sufficient space to accommodate all workers reporting to it. Exterior assembly areas, used when the building must be partially or completely evacuated, are typically located in parking lots or other open areas away from busy streets. Try to designate assembly areas up-wind of the building from the most common (i.e., prevailing) wind direction. When designating an assembly area, consider (and try to minimize) the possibility of workers interfering with emergency response operations. The most effective method to evaluate potential area(s) of refuge is to conduct a pre-evacuation drill.
- Take a head count after the evacuation. Identify the names and last known locations of anyone not accounted for and pass them to the official in charge or to emergency responders. Accounting for all workers following an evacuation is critical. Confusion in the assembly areas can lead to delays in rescuing anyone trapped in the building, or unnecessary and dangerous search-and-rescue operations.
- Establish a method for accounting for non-workers, such as suppliers, clients, outside contractors, customers, and other visitors to the work site.
- Establish procedures for further evacuation in case the incident expands. This may consist of sending workers home by normal means or providing them with transportation to an off-site location.
Personal Protective Equipment during Evacuations
Workers may need PPE in order to protect themselves from hazards during an emergency evacuation. PPE must be based on the potential hazards in the workplace. Assess the workplace to determine potential hazards and identify the appropriate controls, including PPE, for those hazards. PPE may include items such as:
- Safety glasses, goggles, or face shields for eye protection
- Hard hats and safety shoes for head and foot protection
- Proper respirators*
- Chemical suits, gloves, hoods, and boots for body protection from chemicals
- Special body protection (e.g., fire-retardant clothing) for abnormal environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures
- Any other special equipment or warning devices necessary for hazards associated with the worksite
*Respirators selected must be appropriate to the hazards in the workplace, meet OSHA standards' criteria, and be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (29 CFR 1910.134(d)).
OSHA's Safety and Health Topic page on Personal Protective Equipment provides information on PPE for various hazards across a range of industries and links to relevant OSHA standards and more specific Safety and Health Topic web pages.
Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released into the environment in such quantity and/or proximity to a place of business that it is safer to remain indoors rather than to evacuate workers. Such releases may be either accidental or intentional.
Examples of situations that might result in a decision to institute shelter-in-place include an explosion in a nearby ammonia refrigeration facility or a derailed and leaking tank car of chlorine. In many cases, local authorities will issue advice to shelter-in-place via TV or radio.
When planning to shelter-in-place as part of an emergency plan, keep the following in mind:
Shelter-in-Place means selecting an interior room(s) within a facility, potentially with no or few windows, and taking refuge there.
- Implement a means of alerting workers to shelter-in-place that is easily distinguishable from that used to signal an evacuation.
- Train workers in the shelter-in-place procedures and their roles in implementing them.
Specific procedures for shelter-in-place at a worksite may include the following:
- Close the business.
- When authorities provide direction to shelter-in-place, everyone should do so immediately. Do not drive or walk outdoors.
- If there are clients, customers, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay, not leave.
- Unless there is an imminent threat, ask workers, clients, customers, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
- Turn on call-forwarding or alternative telephone answering systems or services. If the business has voice mail or an automated attendant, change the recording to indicate that the business is currently closed, and that staff and visitors are remaining in the building until authorities advise that it is safe to leave.
- Close exterior doors and close windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers. Workers familiar with the building's mechanical systems should turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems, and clothes dryers. Some systems automatically provide for exchange of inside air with outside air. These systems, in particular, need to be turned off, sealed, or disabled.
- If sheltering in place due to an external threat, such as a dangerous intruder or active shooter situation, consider locking exterior doors. Ensure that locking mechanisms allow workers to exit the work site if necessary.
- If there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
- Ensure workers are positioned away from exterior windows, and seek shelter in areas that offer adequate protection.
- Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, medications, and other personal items.
- Select an interior room(s) above the ground floor (selecting a room above ground floor does not apply to tornadoes or hurricanes), with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, copy rooms and conference rooms without exterior windows are ideal. Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.
- It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) selected. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if there is a need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
- Take emergency supplies and go into the designated room. Seal all windows, doors, and vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape or anything else on hand.
- Consider pre-cutting plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal windows, doors, and air vents. Each piece should be several inches larger than the space to be covered so that it lies flat against the surrounding surface (e.g., wall, ceiling). Label each piece with the location of where it fits.
- Write down the names of everyone in the room, and call designated emergency contacts to report who is in the room and their affiliation (employee, visitor, client, customer).
- Listen to the radio, watch television, or use the Internet for further instructions until it is safe or until instructed to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in the community.
Employers should also be familiar with the consensus standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other standards-setting organizations such as the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These organizations provide additional recommendations and requirements on shelter-in-place and emergency planning. Furthermore, there may be additional state and local fire and building codes that you must follow. Visit their websites for more information.
Additional Information and Resources:
- Emergency Response, OSHA Requirements for Emergency Response and Preparedness in the Construction Industry Presentation. José A. Carpena, PE, Area Director, OSHA Puerto Rico Area Office, 2005 SWRI Annual Meeting. A resource that contains information on evacuations in the construction industry.
- Evacuation Guidelines for Families. Ready.gov, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
- Basic Guidelines and steps to help individuals to plan for emergencies, including steps for evacuation. American Red Cross (ARC).
- Safety Checklist Programs for Schools. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Online resources with ready-to-fill templates for designing an emergency action plan for a facility which covers: Emergency Personnel, Evacuation Routes, Emergency Phone numbers, Utility Company Emergency Contacts, Emergency Reporting and Evacuation Procedures for Medical, and Fire emergencies, Extended Power Loss, Chemical Spill, Structure Climbing/Descending emergencies, Bomb-Threat Checklist, Severe Weather and Natural Disaster emergencies. (Developed by Lewis Payton, Auburn University, AL; used with permission.)
- Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Developed with input from the disability community to provide general information on evacuation planning for people with disabilities. In addition to providing information on the five general categories of disabilities (mobility impairments, visual impairments, hearing impairments, speech impairments, and cognitive impairments), the Guide outlines the four elements of evacuation information that occupants need: notification, way finding, use of the way, and assistance. Also included is a Personal Emergency Evacuation Planning Checklist that building services managers and people with disabilities can use to design a personalized evacuation plan. The annexes give government resources and text based on the relevant code requirements and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria.
- Accessible Means of Egress. U.S. Access Board. This guide explains requirements in the ADA Standards and referenced sections of the International Building Code (IBC) and was developed in cooperation with the International Code Council.
- Active Shooter - How to Respond. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Preparing for and managing an active shooter situation including guidelines for evacuation.
- Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms (Publication 453). U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Covers a range of protective options, from low-cost expedient protection (what is commonly referred to as sheltering-in-place) to safe rooms ventilated and pressurized with air purified by ultra-high-efficiency filters. These safe rooms protect against toxic gases, vapors, and aerosols (finely divided solid or liquid particles).
- Learn How to Shelter in Place. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This page provides additional information on ways to shelter-in-place.
- Fact Sheet on Shelter-in-Place. American Red Cross (ARC).
- Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Describes the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) as a unique partnership between FEMA and the U.S. Army, given FEMA's long-standing experience in preparing for and dealing with all types of emergencies and the U.S. Army's role as custodian of the U.S. chemical stockpile.
Assistance for Small Businesses
OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. To locate the OSHA On-site Consultation Program nearest you, call 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) or visit the small business web page.
OSHA State Plans
There are twenty-eight OSHA-approved State Plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standard and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.