Educating your employees about the types of emergencies that could potentially occur in the workplace is crucial. It’s important that they understand the problems that might arise, the risks involved and have had proper training to ensure they know what to do in an emergency.

Types of training

Training requirements differ from organisation to organisation. Your training requirements will be determined by the size of your workplace, the number of employees, the processes and materials used and the availability of on- and off-site resources.

It’s vital to make sure all employees understand all elements of your emergency plan, including types of emergencies, procedures for reporting an emergency, evacuation procedures, shutdown procedures and basic information on alarm systems. Not all employees will need the same level of training or information, so it’s up to you to decide the amount each person needs. One thing that should be clearly communicated to all employees, however, is who will be in charge in the case of an emergency.

General training overview

General emergency training for employees should include the following:

  • Emergency response procedures
  • Roles and responsibilities – who will be in charge of what
  • Threats, hazards and the protective actions that can be taken
  • Warning, notification and communication procedures
  • Locating personal contacts/family members should an emergency be specific to certain members of staff
  • Evacuation and accountability procedures
  • Location and use of emergency equipment
  • Emergency shutdown procedures.

Some employees may also be trained in first-aid and methods of invocation/lockdown (ensuring everyone stays on-site and preventing unauthorised access).

Once the emergency plan has been reviewed and all employees have received the necessary training, it’s recommended that practice drills are held on a regular basis to ensure everyone is clear on what to do. It’s also a good idea to review your plan after every drill by identifying any strengths and weaknesses of the plan in practice.