Emergency Procedures and the application of OH&S Act and AS3745-2010
The following information provides some background into the Legislation and Standards related to Emergency Procedures, Warden Training, Occupant Familiarisation and Evacuation Drills for Buildings in NSW. In short, there are two documents which govern this subject:
AS3745-2010 lays down the guidelines for Emergency Procedures in buildings. It outlines the minimum requirements for establishing an Emergency Control Organisation, the training of appointed Wardens and the conducting of Trial Evacuation Drills.
1.2 APPLICATION This Standard applies to buildings, structures or workplaces occupied by people, with the exception of Class 1a buildings as defined in the Building Code of Australia, unless that dwelling is also used as a workplace.
This Standard does not attempt to over-ride legislative obligations in providing for the safety of occupants and visitors in facilities. It does, however, provide guidance for the planning and implementation of effective emergency planning committee (EPC) and emergency control organization (ECO) procedures, covering emergency situations up until the appropriate Emergency Service arrives to manage the situation, at which time, the ECO shall work in conjunction with that service.
The minimum requirements laid down in this standard require:
- Establishment of an Emergency Planning Committee made up of management, Chief Warden and specialist consultant.
- Establish an Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) for the property (Warden team)
- Design appropriate Emergency Procedures and documents in a suitable procedure manual.
- Create evacuation diagrams that will be displayed, in the correct orientation, for easy viewing by both the public and staff.
- Conduct Warden training for all ECO members at least once every 6 months to ensure all wardens are familiar and up-to-date with the emergency procedures.
- Conduct an Evacuation Exercise involving all occupants of the building, to test the effectiveness of the procedures at least once every 12 months.
- Ensure records are kept of all Training and Evacuation exercises.
- Emergency Planning Committee to meet at least once every twelve months to review procedures, performance and effectiveness and implement improvements as appropriate.
The legislation places an obligation on Building Owners, Building Managers (or Their Agents/Representatives) and employers (referred to in the legislation as “Occupiers” or “Controllers of the Premises”) to provide a safe working environment for employees. (Statutory penalties for non-compliance do apply.)