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For many organisations, the idea that an emergency may occur in the workplace is assessed as low likelihood with high consequences. Emergency plans may then be developed accordingly to manage any potential emergency scenarios.

Emergency management can be complex. This is where Australian Standard 3745:2010 - Planning for emergencies in facilities (Amended in 2014) may provide some assistance. The standard is referenced in both Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Work Health and Safety (WHS) supporting codes. This means the standard can be referenced as part of the 'state of knowledge' when deliberating on what is or was 'reasonably practicable' in the circumstances.

The standard consists of eight sections and related appendices. The sections comprehensively cover:

  • Scope and general (includes definitions);
  • Emergency Planning Committee (EPC);
  • Emergency Plan;
  • Emergency Response Procedures;
  • Emergency Control Organization (ECO);
  • Training;
  • Emergency Response Exercises; and
  • Review and maintenance.

Appendices in the standard also cover:

  • Fire and smoke emergencies;
  • Bomb threat;
  • Civil disorder and illegal occupancy;
  • Example of a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP);
  • Example evacuation diagrams;
  • Guidance on determining ECO numbers;
  • Example of an emergency evacuation exercise observers' checklist; and
  • Example of a phone threat checklist.

An Emergency is defined as 'An event that arises internally, or from external sources, which may adversely affect the occupants or visitors in a facility, and which requires an immediate response.'

The standard requires that emergency identification and analysis be undertaken for each facility to determine, which events and scenarios (both internal and external) require consideration as emergencies in the emergency plan. The standard offers a lengthy list of the types of emergency to be considered.

The EPC are the persons responsible for the documentation and maintenance of an emergency plan. Typically, it would consist of building/facility owners, agents, occupiers, lessors, or employers responsible for a facility or its occupants.

The ECO are persons appointed by the EPC to direct and control the implementation of the facility's emergency response procedures. Typically, the ECO would consist of a Chief Warden and where deemed necessary by the EPC and the standard, the following:

  • Deputy Chief Warden;
  • Communications Officer and Deputy;
  • Floor/Area Wardens and Deputies; and
  • Wardens and Deputies.

Other roles such as roll call, traffic wardens and runners could also be considered.


The Emergency Plan is the written documentation of the emergency arrangements for a facility, generally made during the planning process. It consists of the preparedness, prevention and response activities and includes the agreed emergency roles, responsibilities, strategies, systems and arrangements.

Emergency response procedures are the documented scheme of assigned responsibilities, actions and procedures within a designated section of the emergency plan, to respond to and manage emergencies.

An emergency response exercise is a site-specific exercise implemented to determine the effectiveness of the emergency response procedures. An emergency evacuation is an emergency response exercise in which the exercise simulates an emergency that requires an evacuation. For good measure, evacuation is the orderly movement of people from a place of danger.

In addition, an Evacuation Diagram consists of emergency and evacuation information about the facility, comprising a pictorial representation of a floor or area and other relevant emergency response information.

When considering the emergency management cycle, the standard should be viewed as an extremely important document to assist with emergency management, both in prevention and response.

Link to standard and amendment https://infostore.saiglobal.com/en-au/Search/Standard/?searchTerm=3745&productFamily=STANDARD&publisher=AS
Link to training https://www.hazcon.com.au/emergency-warden---initial-fire-attack-training.html

 

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