What should an OSHA Emergency Action Plan include? | A checklist for landscapers

An emergency action plan (EAP) is a legal requirement for landscaping companies in the U.S., but it’s also just good business. By helping to ensure your company is adequately prepared in the event of an emergency, an EAP protects your people, your business and your reputation. OSHA says that creating a comprehensive emergency action plan isn’t difficult. That being said, we’ve put together this checklist specifically to help landscaping companies draft an EAP that covers the bases unique to our industry.

 Your landscaping company’s emergency action plan should include instructions for addressing emergencies that occur at 1) your office and yard and 2) on the job site.

 

1) AT THE OFFICE AND YARD

 

  • how to report fires and other emergencies
  • policies and procedures for evacuations
  • escape procedures and routes, including maps of the workplace and safe areas
  • a plan for sheltering in place in the case of an exterior airborne hazard
  • a plan for action in case of violence
  • a plan for responding to severe weather, including preparation, damage assessment and cleanup
  • plans for employees who will perform essential actions before evacuating, such as shut down services and using fire extinguishers
  • rescue/medical duties for designated employees, if no local public resources are available
  • a way to alert employees and others at the facility, including those with disabilities, to evacuate or take other action
  • a plan for employee training, retraining and drills

 

You'll also need to know how to access the following information at the office if an emergency occurs:

  • names, titles, departments and phone numbers for people to contact for information or explanation of duties under the EAP
  • contact information for local emergency responders, agencies and contractors
  • personal information on employees

 

2) ON THE JOB SITE

 

  • how to report fires and other emergencies while on a job site
  • policies and procedures for when and how to evacuate a job site
  • plans for employees who will perform essential actions in response to an emergency on a job site
  • rescue/medical duties for designated employees on a job site, if no local public resources are available 
  • a way to alert crew members and others on the job site, including those with disabilities, to take action
  • a plan for training, retraining and drills for crews when on a job site

 

You'll need a written lightning safety protocol that covers:

  • how lightning safety warnings are to be shared with outside crews
  • required actions once warnings are received (including response times to seek shelter)
  • when work is to be suspended and when it can be resumed
  • where lightning safety reminders will be posted so outdoor crews will see them. OSHA’s Lightning Safety When Working Outdoors fact sheet has detailed information about what your EAP should include regarding lightning. 
  • protocols for severe weather, including how warnings are to be shared and required actions when they’re received
  • a plan in the case of an exterior airborne hazard while on the job site
  • a plan for action in the case of violence while on the job site

 

You'll need to know how to access the following information if an emergency occurs on a job site:

  • names, titles, departments and phone numbers for people to contact for information or explanation of duties under the EAP
  • contact information for local emergency responders, agencies and contractors
  • personal information on employees

 


 

This checklist is an excellent place to start your internal discussions with your management team, employees and customers as you're developing your EAP. It's also a good tool to review once you've drafted your plan, to make sure nothing has been forgotten. We also recommend that you use OSHA's own EAP checklist to guide your EAP development.

 

OSHA recommends conducting a hazard assessment as part of the development of your EAP so you can identify all potential natural and human-caused emergencies that could affect your company. Fires, explosions, hurricanes, biological releases, explosions and floods are all examples. So are emergencies that might result from aspects specific to landscaping work: pesticide and fertilizer storage, fueling and maintenance areas, and storage of mechanical and electrical equipment. Don’t forget to do a hazard assessment of job sites, as well as your facility. As an added bonus, your hazard assessment may also reveal ways you can be proactive in your management of risks to reduce the likelihood of them occurring in the first place.

 

You may also wish to identify your business processes (both critical and non-critical) and the potential impacts of different kinds of emergencies on them. That way you can determine the best ways to return these processes to normal once you know all your people are safe. For example, you may wish to have a plan for protecting your information technology (hardware and data) and managing the impacts of an IT service interruption following a power outage.

 

We recommend involving any corporate and institutional customers you may have in your EAP discussions, as they will have their own EAPs that may influence yours, particularly the job site component of your EAP.

 

All employees should be trained on how to follow your EAP, including lightning safety procedures. Those in charge of scheduling crews should ensure that every shift has employees who have been trained to perform essential actions.

 

If you'd like a helping hand with your crew safety training, Greenius has you covered. We have more than a dozen online courses specifically designed to help your employees prevent situations where their safety may be compromised, and respond appropriately when it is.

See all our courses

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