Emergency plans

No-one can predict when an emergency is going to take place. If you manage a business, imagine a series of possible scenarios and create a proactive response for each. Your plans and procedures will help staff in the event of an emergency.

Emergency situations may arise due to a fire, explosion, chemical spill, medical emergency, natural disaster, bomb threat or violence.

Must do's

There are specific laws that outline the steps you must follow when making an emergency plan. Here we summarise those laws and give you some practical tips.

Develop an emergency plan

Your emergency plan must include:

  • an effective response to an emergency
  • evacuation methods
  • notifying emergency services at the earliest opportunity
  • medical treatment and assistance
  • effective communication with everyone at the workplace
  • how often the emergency procedures are to be tested
  • instruction and training about implementing the emergency procedures.

Emergency plans and procedures depend on:

  • the type of work
  • the safety issues
  • the size and location of your workplace
  • the number of workers.

If you share a workplace with a number of other businesses – eg in a shopping centre or on a construction site – you must consult with those businesses when preparing an emergency plan.

Review procedures

You must test emergency procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and effective.

Information, training and instruction

You must display emergency procedures in a prominent place, and train your workers to follow them.

More information

For the specific laws about preparing emergency plans, see clause 43 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

There are also general work health and safety laws that will apply to you in any situation, including with regards to emergency plans.

For more practical information about preparing emergency plans and procedures, see the code of practice for managing the work environment and facilities.