Writer: Teresa Madaleno
Local fire departments spend a great deal of time promoting the merits of a good residential exit plan. Canadian Firefighters battle more than 50,000 residential fires every year. However, this does not include the thousands of calls they get to public buildings and workplaces.
Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations cover building safety standards in this country. Business owners should have a safe exit strategy in place as well, not to mention follow occupational Health guidelines.
If a Canadian business violates a COHS regulation an individual could face a $25,000 fine or up to 12 months in prison, while corporations could be looking at a fine of up to $500,000. More important though is the fact that you don’t want anyone to get hurt or worse, killed in the event that something goes wrong at work.
Taking the time to put a plan together is just common sense no matter what size or type of business is it. According to workplace safety experts with the COHS, as well as the U.S Department of Labor, when putting together an emergency exit plan, it is a good idea to examine a wide variety of emergencies situations that could potentially take place in your work environment. You will need to determine what, if any, physical or chemical hazards might exist in your workplace. If you have more than one worksite or building then you will have to put together a different exit plan for each.
Your plan should include the following, at the very least:
- A method for reporting fires and other emergencies
- Emergency escape procedures, route assignments, & workplace maps
- Designated safe (refuge) areas
- An evacuation policy/procedure
- Clearly marked exits
- Procedures for employees that remain on site to perform critical duties
- Names, phone numbers of people who may need to be contacted within or outside of company
Over 200 fires occur in U.S workplaces every year, injuring approximately 5 thousand people. Just imagine if none of them had an emergency exit strategy in place.
For more information on formulating a good exit plan consult with the health and safety regulatory body in your jurisdiction