8.1.1. Emergency planning should be regarded by competent authorities, local authorities and works managements as an essential element of any major hazard control system.

8.1.2. Emergency plans for major hazard installations should cover the handling of emergencies both on site and off site.

8.1.3. Works managements should ensure that the necessary standards appropriate to the safety legislation in their country are being met. They should not regard emergency planning as a substitute for maintaining good standards inside the installation.

8.1.4. When making arrangements for emergency planning, the competent authorities and works managements should take into account the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) handbook, Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level (APELL): A process for responding to technological accidents, designed to assist decision-makers and technical personnel in improving community awareness of major hazard installations and planning for local emergencies.


8.2.1. The objectives of emergency planning should be:
to localise any emergencies that may arise and if possible eliminate them;
to minimise the harmful effects of an emergency on people, property and the environment.

Identification and analysis of hazards

8.3.1. For the initial stage of both on-site and off-site emergency planning, works management should systematically identify and assess what accidents leading to an emergency could arise on its installations.

8.3.2. For both on-site and off-site emergency planning, this analysis should be based on those accidents which are more likely to occur, but other less likely events which would have severe consequences should also be considered.

8.3.3. The analysis of possible accidents by works management should indicate:
the worst events considered;
the route to those worst events;
the time-scale to lesser events which might lead to the worst events;
the size of lesser events if their development is halted;
the relative likelihood of events;
the consequences of each event.

8.3.4. Guidance on the harmful properties of hazardous substances should be obtained where necessary from the suppliers of those substances. In addition, the publications of the UNEP/ILO/WHO International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) should, if necessary, be consulted to obtain practical advice on, for example, the safe storage, handling and disposal of chemicals.

On-site emergency planning

Formulation of the plan Each major hazard installations should have an on-site emergency plan. The on-site plan should be prepared by the works management and should be related to an estimate of the potential consequences of major accidents. For very simple installations, the emergency plan may consist merely of putting the workers on stand-by and calling in the outside emergency services. For complex installations, the plan should be much more substantial, taking account of each major hazard and its possible interaction with the others, and should include the following elements:
assessment of the size and nature of the potential accidents and the relative likelihood of their occurrence;
formulation of the plan and liaison with outside authorities, including the emergency services;
procedures for raising the alarm and for communicating both within and outside the installation;
appointment in particular of the site incident controller and the site main controller, and specification of their duties and responsibilities;
the location and organisation of the emergency control centre;
the actions of workers on site during the emergency, including evacuation procedures;
the actions of workers and others off site during the emergency. The plan should set out the way in which designated workers at the site of the accident can ask for supplementary action, both inside or outside the installation, at an appropriate time. In particular, the plan should include the provision for attempting to make safe the affected part of the installation, for example by shutting it down. The plan should contain the full sequence of key workers to be called in from other parts of the installation or from off site. Works management should ensure that the requirements of the plan for emergency resources, both workers and equipment, are consistent with available resources which can be quickly assembled in the event of an emergency. Works management should consider whether sufficient resources exist at the installation to carry out the plan for the various assessed accidents in conjunction with the emergency services. Where the plan requires the assistance of the emergency services, works management should ascertain the time taken for these services to be fully operational on site and then consider whether the workers can contain the accident during all of that period. The plan should take account of such matters as absence of workers due to sickness and holidays, and periods of installation shut-down. It should be sufficient to apply to all foreseeable variations in manning.

Alarms and communication Works management should arrange for the onset of any accident or emergency to be quickly communicated to all appropriate workers and personnel off site. Works management should inform all workers of the procedures for raising the alarm to ensure that the earliest possible action is taken to control the situation. Works management should consider the need for emergency alarm systems, depending on the size of the installation. Where an alarm system is installed, there should be an adequate number of points from which the alarm can be raised. In areas where there is a high level of noise, works management should consider the installation of visual alarms to alert workers in those areas. Works management should make available a reliable system for informing the emergency services as soon as the alarm is raised on site. The details of the communication arrangements should be agreed between works management and the emergency services, and should also be included in the off-side emergency plan.

Appointment of key workers and definition of duties As part of the emergency plan, works management should nominate a site incident controller (and a deputy if necessary) to take control of the handling of the accident. The site incident controller should be responsible for:
assessing the scale of the incident (both for internal and external emergency services);
initiating the emergency procedures to secure the safety of workers and minimise damage to the installation and property;
directing rescue and fire-fighting operations until (if necessary) the fire brigade arrives;
arranging for a search for casualties;
arranging the evacuation of non-essential workers to assembly areas;
setting up a communications point with the emergency control centre;
assuming the responsibilities of the site main controller until he or she arrives;
providing advice and information, as requested, to the emergency services. The site incident controller should be easily identifiable by means of distinctive clothing or headwear. As part of the emergency plan, works management should nominate a site main controller (and a deputy if necessary) who will take overall control of the accident from the emergency control centre. The site main controller should be responsible for:
deciding whether a major emergency exists or is likely, requiring the emergency services and off-site emergency plan to be implemented;
exercising direct operational control of the installation outside the affected area;
continually reviewing and assessing possible developments to determine the most probable course of events;
directing the shutting down of parts of the installation and their evacuation in consultation with the site incident controller and key workers;
ensuring that any casualties are receiving adequate attention;
liaising with chief officers of the fire and police services, local authorities and the government inspectorate;
controlling traffic movement within the installation;
arranging for a log of the emergency to be maintained;
issuing authorised statements to the news media;
controlling the rehabilitation of affected areas after the emergency. Where the emergency plan identifies other key roles to be played by workers (e.g. first-aiders, atmospheric monitoring staff, casualty reception staff), works management should ensure that these workers are aware of the precise nature of their roles.

Emergency control centre Works management should arrange for the on-site emergency plan to identify an emergency control centre from which the operations to handle the emergency are directed and co-ordinated, and should provide a suitable control centre consistent with the plan. The control centre should be equipped to receive and transmit information and directions from and to the site incident controller and other areas of the installation, as well as outside. Where applicable, the emergency control centre should contain, for example:
an adequate number of both internal and external telephones;
radio and other communication equipment;
a plan of the installation showing:
areas where there are large inventories of hazardous substances;
sources of safety equipment;
the fire-fighting system and additional sources of water;
sewage and drainage systems;
installation entrances and roadways;
assembly points;
the location of the installation in relation to the surrounding community;
equipment for measuring and indicating wind speed and direction;
personal protective and other rescue equipment;
a complete list of workers;
a list of key workers with addresses and telephone numbers;
lists of other persons present on site, such as contractors or visitors;
a list of local authorities and emergency services with addresses and telephone numbers. Works management should arrange for the emergency control centre to be sited in an area of minimum risk. Works management should consider the identification of an alternative emergency control centre should the main centre be put out of action, for example, by a toxic gas cloud.

Action on site The primary purpose of the on-site emergency plan is to control and contain the accident and thereby prevent it from spreading to nearby parts of the installation, and to minimise casualties. Works management should arrange for sufficient flexibility to be included in the emergency plan to enable appropriate action and decisions to be taken on the spot. Works management should consider how the following aspects are covered in the emergency plan:
evacuation of non-essential workers to predetermined assembly points through clearly market escape routes;
designation of someone to record all workers arriving at the assembly points so that the information can be passed to the emergency control centre;
designation of someone in the emergency control centre to collate lists of workers arriving at the assembly points with those involved in the accident and then to check against the list of those thought to be on site;
arranging for the lists held in the emergency control centre to be updated as necessary with details of absences due to holidays and sickness, charges in persons present on site, etc.;
arranging for records of workers, including names and addresses, to be kept in the emergency control centre and to be regularly updated;
arranging for the authorities release of information during any emergency of significant length, and appointing a senior manager to be the sole source of this information;
procedures for rehabilitation at the end of the emergency, including instructions for re-entering the accident area.

Planning shut-down procedures Works management should ensure that emergency plans for a complex installation take account of the interrelationship of its different parts, so that ordered and phased shut-downs can take place when necessary.

Rehearsing emergency procedures Once the emergency plan is finalised, works management should ensure that it is made known to all workers and to external emergency services where applicable. Works management should arrange for the emergency plan to be regularly tested, including the following elements:
communications systems which would be in operation during an accident;
evacuation procedures.

Plan appraisal and updating In the process of developing a plan and its rehearsal, works management should involve workers familiar with the installation, including the safety team as appropriate. Works management should arrange for emergency planning rehearsals and exercises to involve workers familiar with the installation and to be monitored by observers, e.g. senior emergency officers and government inspectors, who are independent of the installation. After each exercise, works management should ensure that the plan is thoroughly reviewed to take account of omissions or shortcomings. Works management should ensure that any changes in the installation or in hazardous substances on site are reflected where necessary in changes to the emergency plan. These changes should then be made known to all those with a role in handling the emergency.

Off-site emergency planning

General The off-site emergency plan should be the responsibility of the local authority and works management, depending on local arrangements. The plan should be based on those accidents identified by works management which could affect people and the environment outside the installation. The plan should therefore follow logically from the assessment used as the basis for the on-site emergency plan. It is important that the plan should have sufficient flexibility to deal with emergencies other than those specifically included in the plan.

Aspects to be included in an off-site emergency plan The off-site emergency plan should include the following (as appropriate):
organisation – details of command structures, warning systems, implementation procedures, emergency control centres, names of the emergency co-ordinating officer, the site main controller, their deputies and other key workers;
communications – identification of personnel involved, communications centre, all signs, network, lists of telephone numbers;
specialised emergency equipment – details of availability and location of heavy lifting gear, buildozers, specified fire-fighting equipment, fire boats;
specialised knowledge – details of specialist bodies, firms with specialised chemical expertise and laboratories;
voluntary aid organisations – details of organisers, telephone numbers, size of resources;
chemical information – details of the hazardous substances stored or processed in each major hazard installation and a summary of the risks associated with them;
meteorological information – arrangements for obtaining details of weather conditions prevailing at the time of an accident, and weather forecasts;
humanitarian arrangements – transport, evacuation centres, emergency feeding, treatment of the injured, first aid, ambulances, temporary mortuaries;
public information – arrangements for dealing with the media and informing relatives of casualties, etc.;
assessment – arrangements for collecting information on the causes of the emergency, and for reviewing the effectiveness of all aspects of the emergency plan.

Role of the emergency co-ordinating officer The off-site plan should identify an emergency co-ordinating officer and a deputy, if necessary, with the necessary authority to mobilise and co-ordinate the emergency services. The emergency co-ordinating officer should take overall command of the off-site handling of the emergency. The emergency co-ordinating officer should liaise closely with the site main controller throughout the emergency to receive regular briefing on the development of the accident on site.

Role of works managements of major hazard installations Where the responsibility for preparing the off-site emergency plan lies with works management:
works management should ensure that the plan is known to all organisations and personnel with a role to play in handling the emergency;
it should appoint the emergency co-ordinating officer;
it should arrange for the off-site plan to be rehearsed and tested in conjunction with on-site exercises and to be updated from the experience gained at these rehearsals. Where the responsibility for preparing the off-site emergency plan lies with the local authority, works management should establish a liaison with those preparing the plan and provide information to assist them in that task. This information should include a description of possible on-site accidents with potential for off-site harm, together with their consequences and relative likelihood. Technical advice should be provided by works management to familiarise outside organisations which may become involved in handling the emergency. Works management should ensure that any changes in the installation or hazardous substances on site which may affect the off-site plan are passed to those responsible for producing the off-site emergency plan.

Role of the local authorities Where the duty for preparing the off-site plan lies with the local authorities, they should (as appropriate) develop any necessary administrative structures or arrangements and appoint an emergency planning officer to take charge of this task. In addition, they should appoint an emergency co-ordinating officer to take overall command of subsequent off-site emergencies. The emergency planning officer should liaise with works management to obtain the information to provide the basis for the plan. This liaison should be maintained to keep the plan up to date. Where more than one major hazard installation is operating within any local authority, that authority should make appropriate arrangements for the co-ordination of the off-site emergency plans covering every installation, to produce where necessary an overall plan. The emergency planning officer should ensure that all those organisations which will be involved in handling the emergency off site are familiar with their roles and are able to fulfil them. Local authorities should attempt to enlist the help of the media in the emergency planning process. The emergency planning officer should arrange for the off-site plan to be rehearsed and tested in conjunction with on-site exercises and to be updated from the experience gained at these rehearsals. Where a major accident could result in a major spill or environmental harm requiring attention and investigation, the emergency planning officer should identify those authorities who will carry out these tasks and inform them, as appropriate, of their role in the off-site plan.

Role of emergency services The roles of the police, fire and health authorities and other emergency services should be consistent with the normal practice in each country, which may entail a redistribution of the roles listed below. The police should take responsibility for protecting life and property, and controlling traffic movements during the emergency. Depending on local arrangements, the police should also be responsible for tasks such as controlling bystanders, evacuating the public, identifying the dead, dealing with casualties, and informing the relatives of the dead and injured. The control of a fire on site should normally be the responsibility of a senior fire-brigade officer upon arrival at the site, in co-operation with works management. Depending on local arrangements, the senior fire-brigade officer may have similar responsibilities for other major accidents such as explosions and toxic releases. Fire authorities having major hazard installations in their area should, at an early dote, familiarise themselves with the location on site of all stores of flammable materials, water and foam supply points, and fire-fighting equipment. Health authorities, including doctors, surgeons, hospitals, poison centres and ambulances, should have a vital role to play following a major accident. Health authority services should form an integral part of an off-site emergency plan. Health authorities should be familiar with the short- and long-term effects on people of a major accident arising from a major hazard installation in their area. Where hazardous substances are stored or handled at major hazard installations in their area, health authorities should be familiar with the appropriate treatment for anyone affected by these substances. Where accidents with off-site consequences may require medical equipment and facilities additional to those available in their area, health authorities should arrange a “mutual aid” scheme to enable the assistance of neighbouring authorities to be obtained.

Role of the government safety authority or inspectorate Depending on local arrangements, government inspectors should:
check to ensure that works management has properly identified potential major accidents which could affect people and the environment outside the installation, and where appropriate has provided the information required by the local authorities;
check that works management has prepared an on-site emergency plan and has provided information about the plan to the local authorities;
check that the organisation responsible for producing the off-site plan has made adequate arrangements for handling emergencies of all types;
check to ensure that the various elements of the emergency plan have been tested and rehearsed;
be clear as to their expected role during the actual emergency, including advisory and monitoring duties;
in the event of an emergency, advise works management and emergency co-ordinating officers of the suitability of an affected area for re-entry and reuse once the emergency has ended;

consider whether parts of the installation or equipment should be secured for on-the-spot examination and subsequent testing;
interview witnesses as soon as practicable after the emergency;
institute any necessary action in the light of lessons learned from a major accident, including evaluating the effectiveness of the emergency plan.

Rehearsals and exercises The organisation responsible for preparing the off-site plan should appropriately test its arrangements in conjunction with on-site exercises. In particular, it should ensure that the various communication links needed for overall co-ordination are able to operate efficiently under emergency conditions. After each rehearsal exercise, the organisation responsible for the plan should thoroughly review the exercise to correct shortcomings or omissions in the off-site plan. The effectiveness of the plan should also be reviewed following a major accident.

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