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The 3 Step Process for Building Emergency Preparedness Plans with EHS Software

Alexa Sussman
by Alexa Sussman on Mon, Mar 05, 2018
The 3 Step Process for Building Emergency Preparedness Plans with EHS Software

Emergency Preparedness Plans (EPPs) let you record personnel, equipment and external parties associated with emergency procedures.

This document is equally as important to members of the EHS and emergency response teams that must create it, as it is to other employees of the organization that must follow it.

Here are three steps to utilize your EHS software to build an effective EPP.

1. Identify

The first step in building an EPP is determining what types of events require emergency plans.

Use risk tools to systematically identify those kinds of events. A risk matrix is a good tool for this step, since it assigns a numerical value to overall risk by multiplying the likelihood of an event by the potential impact.

This way, you have a quantifiable value to risk that can be measured against a threshold to determine if the potential event is a high enough risk to require an EPP.

2. Evaluate

After identifying events for your plan, evaluate each situation to define its aspects.

It’s important to identify team roles—establishing the chain of command and coordinator roles, while clarifying responsibilities for communicating with the team and the public.

Predictive tools like the Bowtie Model can help identify preventive and responsive controls when building your EPPS. They are designed for high impact, low probability events, which are the types that would most likely need an EPP.

To utilize the Bowtie Model, start by placing an undesired event in the center of the model. On one side of the model you evaluate potential threats that could cause the event and place controls between those threats and the event. On the other side, you evaluate potential consequences and build out recovery controls to minimize the impact.

This tool is effective for building an EPP because it takes a proactive approach to preventing catastrophic events and preparing for their occurrences.

3. Report

Once your EPP is complete, it’s important to distribute it to the rest of your team. Run the EPP through an automated Employee Training workflow to make sure everyone sees it and is trained on their responsibilities.

Also within the Employee Training process, you can regularly run drills on the plan to make sure that in the case of an actual emergency, the plan will be properly executed.

It’s also important to understand that an EPP is a living document. It should be evaluated and changed as processes, job roles and equipment change. Keeping your EPPs in an automated Document Control System makes revising, approving and redistributing EPP updates more efficient. Since Document Control is a central portal for living documents, you can be sure that employees are always referencing and training from the latest version of the EPP.

Using an Automated EHS System for Your EPPs

Building your EPP within an automated EHS system brings additional, organization-wide benefits, including:

  • Scalability: A scalable plan means that contingencies are in place to extend to external parties or additional sites, based on the level of disaster. Being able to distribute and audit those plans to external parties automatically can make a big difference when dealing with a large-scale disaster.
  • Collaboration: Communication is a key part of any emergency plan. Automated workflows ensure that all necessary parties are involved and included in any recovery efforts.
  • Centralization: Keeping all emergency response information within a centralized Document Control System lets you link your EPP to other quality systems like Quality Management, Employee Training, Corrective Action and more.

Utilizing functions of your automated EHS system will help you build the most effective and efficient EPPs for your organization, so you can be prepared to act in times of crisis. 

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Alexa Sussman
Written by Alexa Sussman
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