Overview

An emergency plan contains instructions of what to do in an emergency at your workplace. Your emergency plan must be tailored to your workplace. Find out how to draft an emergency plan and what to consider when making one. 

Your emergency plan must cover: 

Emergency procedures, including all of the following:  

  • how to effectively respond to an emergency 

  • evacuation procedures  

  • notifying emergency services quickly 

  • medical treatment and help  

  • communication protocols between the emergency response coordinator and all people at the workplace  

  • when and how to do emergency procedure testing  

  • information, training and instructions to relevant workers about the emergency procedures. 

This is general guidance that applies under regulation 43 of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations. Certain workplaces and activities have specific additional duties for emergency plans. 

What to put in an emergency plan 

Your plan may include: 

  • contact details for key people – like fire wardens, floor wardens and first aid officers  

  • contact details for local emergency services  

  • how to alert people at the workplace to an emergency or potential emergency – for example, using a siren or bell alarm  

  • help for hearing-, vision- or mobility-impaired people 

  • a map of the workplace showing where to find fire protection equipment, emergency exits and assembly points  

  • triggers and processes for telling your neighbours about emergencies  

  • the post-incident follow-up process – for example, notifying the regulator, organising trauma counselling or medical treatment.  

The checklist in the emergency plan fact sheet has more examples. 

Things to consider for your emergency plan 

You must tailor your plan to your workplace, considering: 

  • the nature of your work  

  • hazards at your workplace  

  • workplace size and location – for example, how close you are to health services 

  • workforce size and structure – for example, employees, contractors and others, including visitors 

You should also take into account: 

  • external hazards, for example a chemical storage facility across the road 

  • how relevant laws apply, including public health laws – for example, for workplaces that are also public places 

  • state or territory disaster plans. 

You might plan for: 

  • fires 

  • explosions 

  • medical emergencies 

  • rescues 

  • incidents with hazardous chemicals 

  • bomb threats 

  • armed confrontations  

  • natural disasters.  

Emergency procedure training 

You must provide training to your workers, including on procedures for: 

  • evacuations and assembly points 

  • equipment 

  • first aid 

  • safely shutting down machinery. 

You may need different training for different people, for example:  

  • induction courses for new workers  

  • refresher training for existing workers  

  • training for short-term contractors or visitors at the workplace (this may not need to be as extensive as it is for workers)  

  • specific training for people with formal roles in an emergency – for example, fire wardens, floor wardens, first aid officers.  

Reviewing emergency plans  

You must maintain your emergency plan so it remains effective. Reviewing your emergency plan will help it stay current, and let you know if you need to revise it. You should review your plan when:  

  • there are changes to your workplace, like re-location or refurbishments  

  • the number or arrangement of your workforce changes, including if there are more temporary contractors  

  • your work activities increase or change 

  • after testing the plan. 

Emergency plans for higher-risk workplaces  

An emergency plan for a high risk workplace may need extra details.  

For example, if you work with:  

The model Codes of Practice for these workplaces have more information.