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Underscoring the recent terrorist events in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has unveiled a tool to help employers plan for emergency workplace evacuations. The “Evacuation Planning Matrix” provides ideas and numerous online resources to help employers reduce their vulnerability to a terrorist attacks and specifically the impact of a terrorist release of hazardous substances.
“The level of risk is a combination of workplace vulnerabilities, recognized threat and anticipated consequences of the event,” OSHA stated. “This kind of assessment is not a typical safety and health evaluation.”
The matrix is not a compliance tool for conducting a comprehensive compliance evaluation of an emergency plan. Rather, the document covers general aspects of emergency planning and includes broad questions to help employers review plans in light of an indoor or outdoor terrorist release.
The document addresses planning for workplaces in each of three risk zones – green, yellow and red. Upon completing the terrorism risk assessment, employers are encouraged to review the description of each risk zone to see where their workplace fits best. See www.osha.gov/dep/evacmatrix/index.html.