Updated: Mar 23
Doesn't Emergency Evacuation Training have to be Face-to-Face?
When presenting PlanSafe to a prospective client, we are often asked “Doesn’t Emergency Evacuation Training have to be face to face?” and there are plenty of arguments out there for and against.
In answering this question, it’s a perfect opportunity to refer to Safe Work Australia’s Emergency Plan Fact sheet see link: Click Here
The short answer is "No"
Nowhere in this fact sheet does it state that training must be face to face. The main emphasis of the document is that the Plan needs to reflect site specific detail such as; the nature of work being carried out at the workplace, hazards at the workplace, consideration also to neighbouring sites, the size and location of the workplace, is the site remote? Is it near health services? How many occupants are there?
These are all details that as PlanStudio users, you can collect when creating evacuation diagrams – which you must do regardless. With PlanSafe, this information is translated into the learning outcome that is verified by QFES, complies with current Workplace Health and Safety Legislation, and Building Fire Safety Regulations and Australian Standards (AS 3745-2010).
When the required detail is supplied as online training for your client, it allows the client to focus on how to best run an evacuation drill (the only practical requirement). This allows for a more detailed exercise catered to the business they are in. Some examples on how to manage an evacuation for shopping centre could be a bomb scare or armed intruder, for an office environment a suspicious package or irate customer.
PlanSafe, occupants are only trained and tested on detail appropriate to their building
PlanSafe’s dashboard reporting has shown a spike in assessments voluntarily taken by building occupants ahead of a drill, showing how easy it is to refresh knowledge at the expense of 20 minutes, just to understand better how to perform an evacuation successfully. Once a building occupant has completed and been assessed on the online site specific training, they better understand the evacuation options for their building and fire equipment installed within it. They are aware of information specific to that building such as staged evacuation practices or any alternative solutions which can be captured. With PlanSafe, occupants are only trained and tested on detail appropriate to their building, preparing them with rich content in the case of an emergency. In the case of Emergency Control Organisation (Wardens, First Aid, Area Wardens etc) these members are educated and tested on the specific actions they need to follow when an emergency arises.
Each assessment takes 20-30 minutes and can be available to a new staff member as part of their onboarding, ensuring that the building owner meets compliance by ensuring that all occupants are trained in how to respond to an emergency. Better still, it can be performed out of work hours, adding no cost to the operator. That by comparison, trying to pull together staff members to attend a half-day session, where engagement is low, and no assessment is complete. Face to face training for a real-life emergency barely ticks the box – providing everyone turned up on the day the training was set.
PlanStudio is the input tool that creates relevent site-based PlanSafe training
The Safe Work Australia’s Emergency Plan Fact sheet also notes that training and instruction of workers for evacuation purposes must be outlined in the Emergency Plan and accessible to workers. Site specific instructions can only be guaranteed by the information you collect and amend annually in PlanStudio and is translated into the PlanSafe training. Face to face training does not achieve this. The Emergency Evacuation Plans PlanSafe produces are comprehensive and easy to read – as they are site specific and leave out the information that other Emergency Plans often include that do not apply to that building. This makes it a manageable document, rich and relevant in content and short enough to reference and understand. It can also be available online, from any hand-held device.
The PlanSafe system also covers induction and training for short term visitors, volunteers and contractors working at site. It can include all information a building owner is required to supply to a contractor in regards to location of hazardous materials such as an asbestos register. Again, Contractors can complete this online training before coming to site adding no extra cost to the operator. By supplying them a link to the report on location of hazardous materials, you have given them opportunity to understand and prepare for the task they may need to carry out with safely. You just need to obtain this report from your client and incorporate it into the PlanSafe content as a link.
Emergency Plans must be kept current
The Safe Work Australia’s Emergency Plan Fact sheet notes that Emergency Plans must be reviewed when there are changes to the work place such as refurbishments and when there are changes in the number or composition of staff including an increase in the use of temporary contractors, when new activities have been introduced in a building and after a plan has been tested. These are all details that you can pick up on your annual building audit.
PlanStudio, PlanSafe and ESP complement each other to deliver a compliant and safe workplace. This is delivered in a time efficient and cost-effective manner. The training is specific to the site specified and only includes the information that is needed.