>Bare-minimum compliance to specified requirements, haste, inexperience or unrealistic expectations can lead to an ineffective EAP. So how do you get it right?
>While each emergency situation will differ to some extent, the following elements are essential to include in all EAPs.
>1. Hazard identification
- Physical: noise, temperature, sun exposure, pressure, electricity, heavy loads
- Chemical: gas contamination, asphyxiants, irritants, toxic substances
- Biological: macro (rodents, maggots), micro (bacteria, viruses, fungi)
- Ergonomic: ventilation, exhaustion, strains, limb injuries
- Psychosocial: stress, burnout, violence, substance abuse
- Mechanical: machinery, slips, gas cylinders, heavy objects
>Focus on the major risks — those that will have the biggest impact on the operation and that may cause injuries, fatalities or major loss to property.
>Responses depend on each situation, but the following are some examples:
- Search and rescue: missing divers or persons
- Injury management: stabilization, resuscitation, medical treatment
- Fire management: fire extinguishment, evacuation
- Rapid communication: quick response to obtain fast assistance
- Recovery: preserve the scene, cleanup
>Carefully examine all possible resources that can be used in an emergency, including evacuation services, search and rescue, medical services and security.
>5. Required equipment
>Appropriate equipment is needed to address most situations. You may need fire-protection equipment, communication devices, medical equipment and supplies, and recovery equipment (e.g., stretchers and hoisting devices).
>6. Training and preparedness
>The following steps will ensure both appropriate and rapid responses in an emergency:
- Assign each task to the right person who will not panic and will keep a cool head.
- Use straightforward and short checklists that contain no more than five or six immediate actions.
- Provide training on how to respond as per the EAP and on the rapid use of emergency equipment.
- Review: The team who will be involved in mitigating and containing the situation needs to review all EAPs.
- Verify: Carry out EAPs while paying attention to all the details to ensure they achieve the desired aim. Always have alternative plans in case the primary plan is rendered ineffective.
- Competence: Training in the use of resources and equipment along with practice and regularly planned and unplanned drills will ensure that emergency personnel know exactly what to do.
- Confidence: The whole team of operational staff will have confidence if they have a proven, effective plan and competent colleagues.