- Part Number:1910
- Part Number Title:Occupational Safety and Health Standards
- Subpart:1910 Subpart E
- Subpart Title:Means of Egress
- Standard Number:
- Title:Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans.
- GPO Source:
This appendix serves as a nonmandatory guideline to assist employers in complying with the appropriate requirements of subpart E.
1910.38 Employee emergency plans
1. "Emergency action plan elements." The emergency action plan should address emergencies that the employer may reasonably expect in the workplace. Examples are: fire; toxic chemical releases; hurricanes; tornadoes; blizzards; floods; and others. The elements of the emergency action plan presented in paragraph 1910.38(c) can be supplemented by the following to more effectively achieve employee safety and health in an emergency. The employer should list in detail the procedures to be taken by those employees who have been selected to remain behind to care for essential plant operations until their evacuation becomes absolutely necessary. Essential plant operations may include the monitoring of plant power supplies, water supplies, and other essential services which cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm. Essential plant operations may also include chemical or manufacturing processes which must be shut down in stages or steps where certain employees must be present to assure that safe shut down procedures are completed.
The use of floor plans or workplace maps which clearly show the emergency escape routes should be included in the emergency action plan. Color coding will aid employees in determining their route assignments.
The employer should also develop and explain in detail what rescue and medical first aid duties are to be performed and by whom. All employees are to be told what actions they are to take in these emergency situations that the employer anticipates may occur in the workplace.
2. "Emergency evacuation." At the time of an emergency, employees should know what type of evacuation is necessary and what their role is in carrying out the plan. In some cases where the emergency is very grave, total and immediate evacuation of all employees is necessary. In other emergencies, a partial evacuation of nonessential employees with a delayed evacuation of others may be necessary for continued plant operation. In some cases, only those employees in the immediate area of the fire may be expected to evacuate or move to a safe area such as when a local application fire suppression system discharge employee alarm is sounded. Employees must be sure that they know what is expected of them in all such emergency possibilities which have been planned in order to provide assurance of their safety from fire or other emergency.
The designation of refuge or safe areas for evacuation should be determined and identified in the plan. In a building divided into fire zones by fire walls, the refuge area may still be within the same building but in a different zone from where the emergency occurs.
Exterior refuge or safe areas may include parking lots, open fields or streets which are located away from the site of the emergency and which provide sufficient space to accommodate the employees. Employees should be instructed to move away from the exit discharge doors of the building, and to avoid congregating close to the building where they may hamper emergency operations.
3. "Emergency action plan training." The employer should assure that an adequate number of employees are available at all times during working hours to act as evacuation wardens so that employees can be swiftly moved from the danger location to the safe areas. Generally, one warden for each twenty employees in the workplace should be able to provide adequate guidance and instruction at the time of a fire emergency. The employees selected or who volunteer to serve as wardens should be trained in the complete workplace layout and the various alternative escape routes from the workplace. All wardens and fellow employees should be made aware of handicapped employees who may need extra assistance, such as using the buddy system, and of hazardous areas to be avoided during emergencies. Before leaving, wardens should check rooms and other enclosed spaces in the workplace for employees who may be trapped or otherwise unable to evacuate the area.
After the desired degree of evacuation is completed, the wardens should be able to account for or otherwise verify that all employees are in the safe areas.
In buildings with several places of employment, employers are encouraged to coordinate their plans with the other employers in the building. A building-wide or standardized plan for the whole building is acceptable provided that the employers inform their respective employees of their duties and responsibilities under the plan. The standardized plan need not be kept by each employer in the multi-employer building, provided there is an accessible location within the building where the plan can be reviewed by affected employees. When multi-employer building-wide plans are not feasible, employers should coordinate their plans with the other employers within the building to assure that conflicts and confusion are avoided during times of emergencies. In multi-story buildings where more than one employer is on a single floor, it is essential that these employers coordinate their plans with each other to avoid conflicts and confusion.
4. "Fire prevention housekeeping." The standard calls for the control of accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials.
It is the intent of this standard to assure that hazardous accumulations of combustible waste materials are controlled so that a fast developing fire, rapid spread of toxic smoke, or an explosion will not occur. This does not necessarily mean that each room has to be swept each day. Employers and employees should be aware of the hazardous properties of materials in their workplaces, and the degree of hazard each poses. Certainly oil soaked rags have to be treated differently than general paper trash in office areas. However, large accumulations of waste paper or corrugated boxes, etc., can pose a significant fire hazard. Accumulations of materials which can cause large fires or generate dense smoke that are easily ignited or may start from spontaneous combustion, are the types of materials with which this standard is concerned. Such combustible materials may be easily ignited by matches, welder's sparks, cigarettes and similar low level energy ignition sources.
5. "Maintenance of equipment under the fire prevention plan." Certain equipment is often installed in workplaces to control heat sources or to detect fuel leaks. An example is a temperature limit switch often found on deep-fat food fryers found in restaurants. There may be similar switches for high temperature dip tanks, or flame failure and flashback arrester devices on furnaces and similar heat producing equipment. If these devices are not properly maintained or if they become inoperative, a definite fire hazard exists. Again employees and supervisors should be aware of the specific type of control devices on equipment involved with combustible materials in the workplace and should make sure, through periodic inspection or testing, that these controls are operable. Manufacturers' recommendations should be followed to assure proper maintenance procedures.
[45 FR 60714, Sept. 12, 1980; 67 FR 67961, Nov. 7, 2002]