Emergency Action Planning


Despite your best intentions to prevent occupational safety and health problems, there will be times when unexpected events occur. Because accidents are inevitable, it’s critical that hog production facility employees familiarize themselves with the key emergency situation practices at the facility. An emergency action plan will tell you who to call, what to say and what steps to follow in an emergency.

All pork operations should develop and communicate an emergency action plan to all employees. A solid emergency action plan will help lessen human, animal, property, and financial losses in the event of an emergency.

Creating an emergency action plan

The Pork Checkoff’s emergency action plan tool guides producers through the planning and documenting of an emergency response plan. The tool is Web-based and can be found at http://eap.pork.org. Users are instructed to log in, describe their operations and consider various situations that can put a farm’s employees, animals or facilities at risk. Additionally, users are required to think about and describe the resources, including people, equipment and locations, that can be of use in case disaster strikes.

If you don’t have computer access, you can create a written emergency action plan for your operation:

1. Make a list of the types of emergency events which COULD affect your operation. Example “events” should include:

  • Injury to workers
  • Acute health-related emergency (heart attack, other unexpected event)
  • Criminal activity on the facility (break-in, theft, tampering, etc.)
  • Fire
  • Spill (pesticide, pharmaceutical, manure, etc.)
  • Natural disaster (tornado, flood, etc.)
  • Power outage (loss of any utility such as electricity, gas, water, etc.)

2. For each type of event you identify as being important to your operation, develop an “action plan.” These should include a list of supplies needed (for example, fire extinguishers to deal with the fire threat, first aid kits for emergencies, electricity generators for power outages, etc.). In addition, each event should also have a corresponding list of actions to take if that event were to occur.

3. Develop the following documents and post them together in conspicuous locations, near telephones, in each building on your farm:

  • A Farm Emergency Information sheet
  • A list of First Aid cardholders
  • A map of each building on your farm, with escape routes and fire extinguishers clearly marked
  • A Safety Plan Contact Sheet, which includes the name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

4. Develop an Evacuation Plan from all facilities. Establish a “nose count” system; a plan for accounting for all employees after an evacuation. Depending on the size of your operation, your nose-count system could be as simple as the following:

  • Designate a post-evacuation meeting place for every building; a safe location to which everyone must report after evacuating.
  • Identify “nose-count leaders” for each building, persons to which everyone must report once they’ve arrived at the meeting place.
  • Make sure nose-count leaders receive training. They must understand beforehand that they’re responsible for counting evacuated employees and for notifying police or Emergency Medical Services of persons believed to be missing.

5. Develop a shut down plan: procedures to be followed by employees who remain to perform or shut down critical production operations before they evacuate. These employees must understand the functions they’re responsible for.

  • Name:
  • Job Title:
  • Pre-evacuation functions:

6. After developing the above, train all employees on your new Emergency Action plan. Training must be conducted, and workers must know the escape routes, post-evacuation meeting places, and who the nose-count leaders are. Conduct training:

  • When the plan is first launched
  • For each new hire
  • Whenever the Emergency Action Plan is changed.

OSHA requirements

For certain situations, OSHA requires Emergency Action Plans. In addition, states may require that comparable plans be in place. Regardless of regulatory requirements, it is wise to have a plan in place. Information from OSHA includes:

1910.38(a) Application. An employer must have an emergency action plan whenever an OSHA standard in this part requires one. The requirements in this section apply to each such emergency action plan.

1910.38(b) Written and oral emergency action plans. An emergency action plan must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees.

1910.38(c) Minimum elements of an emergency action plan. An emergency action plan must include at a minimum:

  • 1910.38(c)(1) Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency;
  • 1910.38(c)(2) Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments;
  • 1910.38(c)(3) Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate;
  • 1910.38(c)(4) Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation;
  • 1910.38(c)(5) Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties;
  • 1910.38(c)(6) The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

1910.38(d) Employee alarm system. An employer must have and maintain an employee alarm system. The employee alarm system must use a distinctive signal for each purpose and comply with the requirements in § 1910.165.

1910.38(e) Training. An employer must designate and train employees to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of other employees.

1910.38(f) Review of emergency action plan. An employer must review the emergency action plan with each employee covered by the plan:

  • 1910.38(f)(1) When the plan is developed or the employee is assigned initially to a job;
  • 1910.38(f)(2) When the employee’s responsibilities under the plan change;
  • 1910.38(f)(3) When the plan is changed.

What should I do in the event of an emergency?

1. Assess the scene. Every second counts. Consider the condition of the injured, hazards at the scene and the time required to activate Emergency Medical Services (EMS). If you can activate EMS quickly, then do so.

2. Activate Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Use a telephone or radio. Give clear directions to the farm and accident scene on the farm, and if possible, have someone wait by the road to show the way to the scene.
Who to call first:

  • Dial 9-1-1 or EMERGENCY CONTACTS:
  • Fire:
  • Police:
  • Ambulance:
  • Poison Control:
  • Electric Utility Co:
  • Gas Utility Co.:

What to tell dispatcher:

  • Name of Farm:
  • Name of Farm Owner/Operator:
  • Directions to the Farm (list the appropriate information – GPS coordinates, land location, six-digit rural property number, or nearest road intersection and landmarks):
  • The location of the emergency scene within the farm
  • The nature of the incident (fall, burn, etc.)
  • The number of casualties
  • The condition of casualty (bleeding, breathing difficulty, entanglement, amputation, etc.
  • The type of aid that has already been given
  • Whether someone will meet EMS at the road entrance to a remote location
  • Any special conditions that may hinder rescue, such as known medical conditions of casualty (heart, diabetes, epilepsy) or difficulty reaching the emergency site (mud, fallen trees, etc.)
  • Other information as necessary.

3. Return to the scene. If you had to leave the scene to get help, quickly try to bring back with you materials that will help with the rescue such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, blanket, tractor, chains, boards, cell phone, etc.

4.  Stabilize the scene. Is the injured in immediate danger of further injury? Will it be dangerous for you to approach the injured? Without putting yourself in danger, is there anything you can do to lessen the danger of further injury to the injured? Injured persons should not be moved unless they’re in immediate danger of further injury!

5. Care for the injured. Locate a First Aid cardholder at the facility. If you cannot find one, follow these basic first aid principles:

  • Breathing: If the injured is not breathing and you don’t suspect spinal injuries, open the airway by tilting the injured’s head back and lifting his or her chin. Do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR if necessary.
  • Bleeding: Place a bandage (use a piece of clean clothing if a bandage is not handy) over the wound and apply direct pressure with the palm of your hand.
  • Shock: Keep the injured lying down, reassured and warm. Do not give anything to eat or drink.

Who to call after the situation is stabilized:

  • Primary Contact Name and Phone Number:
  • Secondary Contact Name and Phone Number:
  • Neighbor (if necessary, as in the event of a brush fire) Name and Phone Number:

Key Points

Learn who to call, what to say, what to do in the event of an emergency.
Know how to contact employees trained in CPR and first aid cardholders on the operation.
Know who to contact with questions about the operation’s safety program.


  • Read and know your facility’s Emergency Action Plan and Information.
  • Know the Safety Program contacts.
  • Know and follow the five-step emergency procedure.
  • Use the RACE response plan in dealing with fires.


  • Fail to report or notify others of emergency situations.
  • Enter a building known or suspected to have hazardous gasses without following safety procedures and wearing proper respiration equipment.
  • Fail to notify neighbors and others of a scrub or grass fire.


Q: Do I really need an emergency action plan according to OSHA?
A: Pork production facilities are typically not required to have an emergency action plan by OSHA. However, it is always a good idea. If fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.157 requires you to have an EAP. The only exemption to this is if you have an in-house fire brigade in which every employee is trained and equipped to fight fires, and consequently, no one evacuates.

Q: I understand that exits are an important part of an action plan. Where can I learn more about proper exits which will comply with OSHA standards?

A: OSHA has excellent online resources on exits and related requirements. Check their website at: http:// www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/egress_construction.htm