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Monday, 6 July 2009

The Environmental Management Standard ISO14001 - Emergency Preparedness and Response

One of the requirements of the Environmental Standard ISO14001:2004 is that any organisation putting this standard into operation will have a plan to deal with emergency situations and accidents.

The plan sets out the identification of potential environmental impacts and the routine to be performed in the event of an accident or incident to:

  • Respond to the accident or incident;
  • Prevent or reduce injury;
  • Protect or reduce the impact on adjacent businesses, contractor's personnel and people living/working in the vicinity of the company;
  • Prevent or reduce environmental damage;

The plan aims at prevention and therefore all measures are taken to eliminate or reduce the potential causes of accidents and emergencies.

It is common practice to make a copy of the plan available to the emergency services and a copy kept offsite to ensure that timely action can be taken to mitigate any accident and coordinate a response to the incident.

The organisation should also test the plan to make sure that in an emergency the plan would work. Many organisations that do not practice the actions needed will find that the first major incident that happens for real will identify significant failures in the plan.

Testing should ensure that:

  • Everyone knows what to do
  • There is less duplication of effort
  • The organisation can prevent injury and reduce or prevent pollution
  • Get the organisation up and running as soon as possible.

The better prepared you are, the better you will deal with an incident

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