What Is Typically Included in a Workplace Emergency Evacuation Plan?

A workplace emergency evacuation plan typically includes designating a chain of command, mapping routes and exits, planning the procedures for evacuating employees and visitors, deciding who remains behind and figuring out how to account for people after the evacuation, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Deciding which conditions warrant an evacuation is an important step in putting together an evacuation plan.

Emergencies that clearly require evacuation are fires, explosions, toxic material releases, and radiological and biological accidents, states OSHA. Others may depend on the relative safety of the building compared to the conditions outside. Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, civil disturbances and workplace violence are examples of emergencies that may or may not require evacuation.

Selecting a responsible leader to assess the emergency and coordinate activities should be part of an evacuation plan, reports OSHA. Employers must prominently post maps with floor diagrams, using arrows to show exits, assembly areas and equipment. Management should appoint wardens to guide people out and to check on specific areas for evacuation. An employer may wish to designate certain people to remain and shut down equipment or operations after others have left. Finally, management should assign specific places for people to assemble and be accounted for after evacuating.