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Where do Evacuation Plans need to be posted?
by Leigh Harris

Evacuation Plans are the responsibility of every PCBU (Persons Conducting Business or Undertakings). If that’s you, you need to make sure that your employees, students, customers or visitors are going to be safe in the case of an emergency. The best way to do this is to have an Evacuation Plan.

These plans need to be in writing, in the workplace, and readily available to all the employees. They need to be placed in areas around the workplace so that all employees have easy access to the Emergency Plan and Evacuation Diagram. Evacuation signs should indicate the path to the nearest exit.

Some popular locations for Evacuation Plans include communal areas like the kitchen, outside the bathroom and in the major areas where the employees conduct their work.

It is also essential that they are posted in areas where visitors would have access to them, like in a foyer or waiting room. If an emergency were to take place those that aren’t familiar with the space need to have access to the site map and a clear route to exit.

What are the characteristics of an effective Evacuation Plan?

An effective Evacuation Plan is easy to understand and specific to the workplace and risks associated with the business. Emergency plans or a summary of their key elements should be made available on display in prominent areas of the workplace. If an incident were to occur and this was not the case, the PCBU responsible would be liable.

When should the plan be revised?

Emergency Evacuation Plans should be revised regularly, especially if any renovations or construction has taken place that would alter the evacuation floor plan. For the plan to be compliant it needs to be up to date as per the emergency evacuation plan Australian Standards outlined in AS 3745:2010.

The risk of an out of date plan is that in an emergency, staff or visitors could be trapped in an area they believed was leading to an exit but is now a dead end. It could result in precious minutes lost or even grievous bodily harm. That is why these compliance regulations are so clear.

What should your Emergency Plan include?

The plan should have things like emergency contact information for people like fire wardens and first aid personnel, the contact details for emergency services, a description of the fire alarm or other alerting mechanisms, arrangements for workers with disabilities, a map, and several other post-incident instructions.