Employers’ procedures for evacuating staff during an emergency are outdated and unsuitable for dealing with modern-day threats, despite the growing risk of terrorism across the UK.
Simon Ancliffe, an expert in emergency planning, has warned businesses that most traditional methods of evacuation are redundant in the post-9/11 environment.
“Traditional evacuation techniques are based on the threat of fire,” he said. “That’s not sufficient for the wide range of threats we face today. If an organisation was faced with a 9/11-type situation, assembling in the car park only 20 metres away would clearly not be adequate. But too many organisations have not thought about, or realised, this.”
Despite the huge safety issues raised by last year’s London bombings and the increasing terror alert around the UK, employers are still failing to implement robust emergency plans.
Employers have a legal duty of care for employees, but few have considered how they would react if another major terrorist attack took place.
IOSH, the European body for health and safety professionals, is set to highlight the risks facing employers at the forthcoming National Safety Symposium, with a seminar looking at emergency procedures.
“Communicating emergency procedures with staff via two pages of A4 on an induction and with standard fire drills is not going to prepare them for a real-life emergency,” Ancliffe explained. “There needs to be much better training and thought on how to communicate with staff and the outside world post-event.”