How to create an effective emergency response plan

We’ve previously discussed why having an emergency response plan in place has huge advantages for your business, including minimising any harmful effects of a spill both to your staff and the environment. In this article we’ll discuss the key steps to take to ensure you develop a robust and effective emergency spill response plan, making sure that your business and staff can react to an emergency incident quickly.

Make your emergency response plan business specific

It’s important that your emergency response plan addresses your business specifically. This will include areas such as the specific liquids managed, stored and transported on your site and the layout of your site for any possible evacuations. You’ll also need to consider staff numbers and where employees work across the site to make sure your plan is focused on their safety. Making the plan individual to your business operations and environment will mean that it’s always useful, relevant and understood by all staff.

Carry out a thorough risk assessment of potential scenarios

Taking the time to develop comprehensive risk assessments for emergency spills will provide you with the understanding of what needs to be in place to respond well to an incident, including resources, investment in staff training and any new safety protocols needed across the site. Knowing how spills of specific liquids from your site can damage the surrounding environment or health is important. Thorough risk assessments will ensure you keep safety a priority in an emergency, as well as allowing you to effectively limit any environmental impacts and pollution.

List potential spill liquids and how best to respond to them

In your plan, detail exactly which liquids your business handles. Being specific on volume, type and toxicity of chemicals and liquids provides invaluable information on how to contain and clean up the incident properly with the necessary equipment or actions. Listing this information specifically will also help other services if any medical treatment is needed following any exposure to a hazardous liquid.

Identify clear actions to limit the consequences of the spill

It’s imperative that the plan gives clear, step-by-step directions for staff to follow in an emergency spill situation. Identify the key actions that need to be taken in an emergency to ensure safety; for example the evacuation of the site or the isolation of the spill. Also detail protocols needed on first response through to removal of the dangerous substance, including detailing the safety equipment needed, specific duties expected of staff and arrangements for informing any other local authority or emergency services if necessary. Writing down the actions in the plan will make it clear how to respond to the emergency for all involved. 

Training is an essential part of developing an emergency response plan

It’s important that your staff across your organisation are well-trained in the emergency protocols detailed in your plan. Investing in thorough emergency response training will ensure your staff know how to react effectively and confidently in an emergency situation, remaining safe and limiting any potential damage to them and the surrounding area. Any staff members named in the emergency protocols as being directly responsible during an emergency need to have thorough emergency response training.  Training staff will also ensure you react in a legally compliant way to a spill, limiting any legal impacts from the emergency.

Spillcraft delivers effective and up-to-date training in all areas of legislation compliance and emergency spill responses. To discuss how we can help your business, call 01606 352 679 or email asimpson@spillcraft.co.uk today.