Procedures for Workplace and Travel Emergencies - Revision 2
This directive provides procedures for handling emergencies in the workplace and during travel.
This directive cancels FSIS Directive 4791.6 Revision 1, dated 1/24/95.
III. REASON FOR REISSUANCE
The directive is reissued to expand coverage, provide instructions for reporting non-compliant workplaces, and require designated primary and alternate assembly points.
- FSIS Directive 4610.3, Service During Work Stoppages in Connection With Strikes, Floods, or Other Emergency Conditions
- FSIS Directive 4630.2, Leave
- FSIS Directive 4791.1, Basic Occupational Safety and Health Program
- FSIS Directive 4791.12, Reporting and Correcting Occupational Hazards
- FSIS Directive 4792.1, First Aid
- 29 CFR Subpart E, OSHA's Means of Egress Standard
- 41 CFR, Part 101.20.5, Physical Security
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Publication 7550.2, Bomb and Physical Security
- Federal Employees' Compensation Act
- National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code
V. ABBREVIATIONS AND FORMS
The following will appear in their shortened form in this directive:
- IIC Inspector-In-Charge
- lbf. pounds-force
- OEP Occupant Emergency Plan
- FSIS Form 4791-21, FSIS Occupant Emergency Plan
- FSIS Form 4791-27, Report of Alleged Safety or Health Hazard
Emergencies. Fires, explosions, chemical spills, leaks and releases, bombings, bomb threats, civil disturbances, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, floods, power failures, and personal injuries.
This directive is primarily directed to FSIS employees who perform duties at private sector workplaces. Federally owned or leased workplaces should have established OEP's. Supervisors should contact building managers or the local Federal Protective Service to receive information or assistance about OEP's at federally owned or leased workplaces. This directive also applies to FSIS employees:
- A. Traveling between workplaces in a motor vehicle, plane, train, subway or bus.
- B. Traveling on business.
- C. Working on detail away from the regular workplace.
- D. Performing services at home.
- E. Attending meetings, conferences or training away from the regular workplace.
VIII. DEVELOPING AN OCCUPANT EMERGENCY PLAN
- A. If no OEP exists, IIC's or supervisors develop and implement a written OEP for every workplace and enter information on FSIS Form 4791-21. (See Attachment 1.) The OEP should be comprehensive enough to deal with all emergencies reasonably expected to occur. Post the OEP on the Government bulletin board or in an appropriate location for employees to review.
- B. A standardized OEP for the entire workplace is acceptable. At multi-employer workplaces, such as meat and poultry plants, the employers may coordinate one standardized OEP.
- C. The OEP must include, at a minimum, the following:
- An emergency procedure plan that covers all emergencies for the workplace including a floor plan or map clearly identifying the escape and alternative escape routes.
- Procedures for employees who remain to perform (or shut down) critical operations before evacuating. NOTE: FSIS employees do not shut down meat, poultry, or egg products plant operations. However, shut down may apply at laboratories.
- Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation. The procedures identify a primary and alternate evacuation assembly point.
- Instructions for reporting emergencies.
- Duties of the warden and employees trained to give first aid.
- Names or job titles of persons to contact for further information.
IX. REPORTING NON-COMPLIANT WORKPLACES
When workplaces do not have OEP's that comply with OSHA's Means of Egress Standard (see Attachment 2), file a report on FSIS Form 4791-27. Follow the instructions in FSIS Directive 4791.12 to file a report. The IIC or supervisor may contact workplace safety and health officials for assistance or guidance to develop revisions to OEP's.
A. IIC or Supervisor. The FSIS supervisor and IIC are responsible for the safety and health of their subordinates. The IIC or supervisor:
- Serves as the emergency coordinator who briefs employees.
- Provides training on the OEP to newly assigned employees. Training should address hazards that may require the use of the OEP.
- Communicates continuously with plant management on changes to the OEP.
- Designates an alternate command center, alternate coordinator, warden, and first-aiders.
- Assesses the emergency and determines the response when there is advance information.
- Notifies subordinates and plant management of any actual or potential emergencies, such as those defined in Paragraph VI.
- Evacuates employees promptly when there is an immediate danger such as fire, explosion, or discovery of an explosive device.
- Posts emergency telephone numbers near the telephone in the Government office. (See FSIS Directive 4792.1.)
- Does not permit the use of Government seals or locks to secure exit doors and unborn animal handling areas.
B. Warden. If FSIS employees work in more than one building or on several floors of a building, the coordinator should designate a warden. A warden:
- Knows the evacuation plan and escape routes.
- Assists employees in evacuating.
- Verifies evacuation of all employees at the specific location to the IIC or supervisor.
- Report emergency situations and follow instructions of the IIC and warden during an evacuation.
- Know how to operate the electrical or mechanical alarm systems.
D. FSIS Managers, Supervisors, and IIC. Share information affecting the safety or health of co-workers and subordinates (EXAMPLES: Natural disasters, civil disturbances, fires, hazardous substances, bomb threats, and bomb explosions).
XI. WORKPLACE SAFETY PROCEDURES
A. Procedure for Inspection Personnel. Continue to report unsafe working conditions according to FSIS Directive 4791.12.
B. Procedures to be Implemented by Establishments. As a third party, plant owners * * * may be liable for injury to FSIS employees.
1. Exit Doors.
a. Workplace exits are identified with readily visible, internally or externally illuminated "Exit" signs. Any door, passage, or stairway that is not an exit will have a "Not an Exit" sign.
b. Exit doors are always unlocked when the building is occupied.
c. Locks or latches are used on exit doors in occupied buildings only under one of the following conditions:
- Building is protected by an operable automatic fire detection system or an operable automatic sprinkler system either of which unlocks the doors automatically when the system is actuated.
- Doors are secured by panic and fire exit hardware.
- Doors are secured by a latch that is operable with a single releasing motion. The force to release the latch may not exceed 15 lbf. Seals to secure a latch that meet the 15 lbf., or less requirement are available from commercial sources. NOTE: Numbered company seals, which plant management uses to secure unborn animal handling areas when visual supervision by inspection personnel is not possible, must meet the 15 lbf. or less requirement.
2. Periodic Testing of Emergency Lighting Equipment. Plant management maintains the useability of the egress system at all times. A functional test of the emergency lighting system is conducted at 30-day intervals for a minimum of 30 seconds. An annual test is conducted for a 1 and 1/2-hour duration. The alarm system is tested at least annually and a portion of the system is tested every month. The IIC should verify if the plant conducts maintenance and testing. However, it is not the responsibility of the IIC to actually perform the testing.
XII. WORKPLACE EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
A. Command Centers. When electricity and telephone services are disrupted, consider the command center to be the Government office at the plant or the designated alternate site.
B. Bombs or Explosive Devices.
- Report location of a suspicious device or package according to the OEP.
- Do not disturb the suspicious device or package.
- Evacuate the building.
- Do not re-enter the building until the device has been removed or disarmed and the IIC declares the building safe for re-entry.
C. Chemical Spills, Leaks, and Emissions. The IIC or supervisor should evacuate employees promptly when there is an immediate danger. Accidental release or first aid information for an exposure can be found on the material safety data sheet. * * *
D. Service During Work Stoppage in Connection with Strikes, Floods, or Other Emergency Conditions. Report work stoppages immediately to program management officials. (See FSIS Directive 4610.3.)
E. Involuntary Annual Leave or Leave Without Pay During Emergency Standby Service. If employees cannot be used during work stoppages, place employees on involuntary annual leave or leave without pay status only after authorization has been obtained by the Human Resources office. * * * (See FSIS Directive 4630.2.)
XIII. BOMB THREAT PROCEDURES
A. Bomb Threat. The IIC should receive immediate notification from plant management if a bomb threat occurs. If the plant orders an evacuation or if a "search and evacuate if warranted" procedure is not approved, employees must evacuate.
B. Alternatives when a Bomb Threat Occurs. There are three alternatives when a bomb threat occurs:
- Ignore the threat. Never ignore the threat. Bombs have been located based on threats. If the bomb threat caller thinks he or she is being ignored, the caller may plant a bomb.
- Evacuate Immediately. This seems to be the preferred alternative. However, if the bomb threat caller is aware of the evacuation policy, repeat calls may cause a shut down of plant operations.
- Follow a "Search and Evacuate if Warranted" Procedure. Searching for a suspicious package or device after a threat is received and evacuating if a device is found may be a preferred alternative. If a device is found, employees can quickly evacuate, avoiding the potential danger areas. This may not be as disruptive as an immediate evacuation.
- a. Approved Procedure. Employees should follow the search and evacuate if warranted procedure only if the IIC or supervisor approves the plant's procedure and determines that the search team training is adequate. IIC’s and supervisors use the following criteria to approve a search procedure:
- The search and evacuate if warranted procedures are in writing.
- The police, fire department, other Government agencies, or appropriate private security consultants provide initial training.
- Trained replacements are assigned to search teams to replace members no longer available.
- More than one individual searches an area or room.
- Occupants of an area or a room may make the initial search. They are familiar with what does or does not belong in a particular area. They must be trained in search techniques.
- When feasible, the initial task when entering an area or room to be searched is listening for a clockwork device.
b. Search Procedure. The procedures below with variations are one technique to search a room or area.
- Divide the area and select a search height.
- Start from the bottom and work up.
- Both individuals go to opposite ends of the area, start back-to-back, and work toward each other.
- Go around the walls and proceed to the center of the room.
- Mark an area or room that has been searched with “OK,” “Safe,” or “Search Completed.”
- Use common sense or logic when searching.
(EXAMPLE: If a caller has threatened to blow up the lunch room, search the lunch room first rather then office space.)
c. Unapproved Procedure. If the IIC or supervisor does not approve the search and evacuate procedure or determines that the search team training is inadequate, FSIS employees are to evacuate when a bomb threat occurs.
C. Re-entry into the Establishment. Do not re-enter after an evacuation UNTIL the IIC or supervisor declares the building safe for re-entry.
D. Repeated Bomb Threats. The IIC or supervisor notifies the district office and the workplace safety and health official of repeated bomb threats.
XIV. FIRE EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
A. General. FSIS policy is to evacuate immediately when there is a fire. Therefore, employees are not trained or equipped to fight structural fires or perform rescue operations.
B. Fire Extinguishers. Employees should be familiar with fire extinguishers for specific types of fires. The labels on the extinguishers provide this information. Since it is FSIS policy to evacuate immediately in the event of a fire, training in use of fire extinguisher is not required. Use an extinguisher only if the fire is limited in size and exit routes are clear. Contact the fire department before using an extinguisher, if feasible.
C. Hotels and Motels. Follow the procedures below when staying in a hotel or motel: Follow the procedures below when staying in a hotel or motel:
- At check-in, ask the clerk what type of fire alarm the hotel/motel uses. If adequacy is doubtful, request a first floor room or a room as near the first floor as possible.
- Check the fire evacuation plan posted in your room.
- Find the two exits nearest your room and make sure they are not locked or blocked. Count the number of doors from your room to the exits. This will help if the corridor is unlighted or filled with smoke.
- If fire is in your room, leave the room and close the door. Report fire to the fire department and front desk.
- If fire is not in the room, but is somewhere else in the hotel/motel, leave if possible. Feel the door to determine if it is:
- a. Cool. Open the door slowly and go to the nearest exit. Crawl near the floor if the corridor is filled with smoke, and take the room key. The key will be needed if smoke or fire blocks exits.
- b. Hot. Do not open the door. Fill the bathtub with water to soak towels or sheets. Use wet towels or sheets to seal cracks around the door. Turn off air conditioners and fans. Call for help and give exact location. Do not break windows except as a last resort. Smoke can enter the room from outside the windows.
6. Do not smoke in bed.
7. Take every alarm or unusual noise seriously.
8. Do not use the elevator when there is a fire.
9. Jumping from a window or ledge should be weighed carefully. A person is unlikely to survive a fall higher than the third floor.
10. Remember that few people are burned to death in fires. Most die from smoke and poisonous gases.
XV. EMERGENCIES WHILE OPERATING A VEHICLE
A. Employees. If an emergency occurs while operating a vehicle, notify the supervisor of your location, whether or not you are injured, the extent of your injury, and any damage to the vehicle. Use these procedures in the following emergencies:
- Earthquake. Pull to the side of the road and stop. Stay in the vehicle until the danger ends. Avoid parking under overpasses or power lines. If damage is severe, do not cross bridges or overpasses.
- Tornado. Pull to the side of the road and stop. Get out of the vehicle immediately. Seek shelter away from the vehicle in a ditch or any spot low to the ground. Avoid trees and utility poles. Protect your head.
- Flash Flood. Go to high ground quickly. Do not drive across flooded roads. Take an alternate route if roads are flooded.
- Winter Storm. Prepare for winter driving with winter vehicle maintenance, giving special attention to the battery, tires, and windshield wiper blades. Do not drive during storms with a near empty gas tank. Use extra caution while driving in snow or icy conditions. If you get stuck in a winter storm, it is usually safer to stay in the vehicle than to attempt to walk to another location.
B. Managers, Supervisors, and IIC’s. Attempt to notify coworkers and subordinates who are in a travel status (EXAMPLE: operating a vehicle) of all emergencies and catastrophes.
A. OEP. The IIC or supervisor is responsible for training employees. (See Attachment 3.) Document and keep records of all training. Provide training when:
- The plan is first developed.
- New employees are hired. Brief all relief replacement and visitors not familiar with the worksite on the evacuation procedures.
- New equipment, materials, or processes are introduced.
- Plan procedures are updated or changed.
- Plant management provides training for plant employees, if feasible.
B. Second Shift Personnel. The IIC and the circuit supervisor will determine and implement the most feasible method of training second shift personnel.
See full PDF for Attachments
- FSIS Occupant Emergency Plan
- OSHA’s Means of Egress Standard
- Workplace Emergency Procedures Training