The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Emergency Response Drills

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Any organization may experience emergencies in the form of unplanned events.

For that reason, an emergency management system should be in place to ensure that such events are able to be contained and controlled.

The emergency management system should be designed  to safeguard people first and to minimise the damage caused to the environment.

In Australia during 2011-11, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA)  conducted audits of the emergency management systems of 14 separate offshore petroleum facilities.

The inspections found that facility operators had implemented emergency management systems that were generally functional and maintained with personnel who were trained in emergency response.

The audits also revealed, however, a number of findings which can be used to highlight the need to improve emergency response capability in an industry.  These points include:

•  Drills undertaken which do not always cover all emergency controls;

 •  Drills which were overdue;

•  Mustering-points with inadequate location signage;

•  Emergency escape routes which were not clearly marked or had material obstructing the exit path;

•  Documented emergency response performance standards often are not comprehensive in terms of response times and sometimes are not tested during emergency drills; and

•  There were instances of inadequate debriefing following emergency drills.

It is clear from NOPSAs audits that opportunities for improvement exist for many facility operators.  Any facility may also review the list above in terms of their own operations and look for areas of improvements.

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