Any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) in Western Australia is obliged under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 to have a workplace safety plan that details the actions that should be undertaken in an emergency.
The legislation requires that all workplaces develop and implement an emergency and evacuation plan and sets down guidelines as to how and where it should be displayed. The regulations also make it clear that all PCBUs are required to provide training for “persons who would be required to help control or extinguish a fire” and to “practice the evacuation procedure at reasonable intervals”.
These last two points are crucial. However, a comprehensive safety plan should go beyond practising evacuation and the operation of firefighting equipment. All members of the workforce should have regular training in how to respond in a workplace emergency.
In a workplace emergency, every member of the workforce needs to have the skills and training to respond in a way that ensures their own safety and that of others. In short, in an emergency everyone needs to be prepared.
Minimise the potential danger in an emergency
An effective safety plan is one that minimises the potential danger to people and property in an emergency. However, any plan can only be as effective as the people implementing it; a plan that can’t be put into action safely can potentially create additional hazards in an emergency. However, regular emergency training minimises the possibility of responders making a situation worse through inexperience or lack of knowledge.
Emergencies can induce panic and uncertainty, but regular training will reinforce safety behaviours, meaning that responders are better equipped to follow an evacuation plan, operate emergency equipment correctly, and make decisions that will protect themselves and colleagues (as well as reduce potential damage to your premises).
Improve whole workforce safety preparation and confidence
However, it’s not only designated responders who need regular training as to what actions to take in an emergency; other members of the workforce who may not have specific roles likewise need to be prepared and have confidence that they know what to do to ensure their safety.
Regular emergency response training will improve staff confidence across the board, with the effect that should a fire break out, or any other sort of emergency occur, they know what to do, where to go and how to behave.
It can also be the case that providing regular emergency response training for all members of the workforce, not just those tasked with being first responders, is a demonstration of the value employers place on all the members of a team. It provides reassurance and confidence that safety is being taken seriously, which can contribute to the overall workplace environment, with knock-on effects in terms of productivity, etc. In this sense, safety training can be regarded as an additional investment in the overall health and well-being of the workforce.
Helping you to build a culture of safety
Barclay Safety Solutions are specialists in providing world-class safety solutions and helping businesses of all sizes to create effective safety cultures. Our team of safety consultants can assist with providing the information and solutions required to help your business achieve first-class emergency response training, ensuring that your employees are prepared for and can effectively manage any emergency that may come their way.
Contact us today on 0429 305 260 or email us with your enquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org.