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Lab Health and Safety

Emergency Plans

Laboratory emergency plans should be developed very early on even being implemented into the design plans themselves. Learn what should be incorporated into an effective emergency plan, what instructions to leave for authorities in the event of an em

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Plans for laboratory emergencies should be incorporated into the design and should include:

  • Audible and visible alarm activation
  • Evacuation and building re-entry procedures
  • Periodic drills
  • Methods for documenting and accounting for all visitors and personnel present if an incident occurs
  • Equipment shutdown procedures or applicable emergency operation (planned in advance and posted)
  • Information required by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) (normally the fire department) to allow the emergency responders to develop response tactics.

Make sure AHJ knows the hazards, storage amounts, and storage locations of all hazardous chemicals before a response, and be prepared to discuss any changes before they enter the site.

Have a response communication plan of who is designated to speak with response personnel, and train employees to direct all questions to those individuals to prevent miscommunication.

Instructions should be posted on the laboratory door so that security personnel can notify the cognizant laboratory supervisor about any after-hours emergency or suspect conditions.

Instructions should be posted regarding coordination of laboratory emergency procedures with the overall facility emergency plans, and for clarifying when outside emergency responders should be called, as well as who makes that decision and when.

Incident Procedures

An emergency action plan covering incident procedures should be developed and implemented to ensure employee safety. At a minimum, it should include:

  • Evacuation procedures, and exit routes, and staging areas for non-responding personnel
  • Procedures for employees who oversee critical plant operations before evacuating
  • Procedures to account for all employees after emergency evacuation is completed
  • Procedures for employees performing medical and rescue activities
  • The preferred means for reporting fires and other emergencies (including emergency phone numbers)
  • Contact information for persons who can provide additional information or explanation of duties covered by this plan.