– Government of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Program –

Emergency Preparedness


Planning ahead is essential to an effective and efficient emergency response. The purpose of emergency response plans is to prevent injury and to minimize property damage in an emergency. Emergency response plans also minimize workplace disruptions and facilitate the continuity of business operations in a timely and effective manner after an emergency.

Emergency response plans provide instruction on how to respond appropriately to emergencies that may affect the workplace. This element has been designed to work in conjunction with the Guide for Facility Emergency Response Planning developed by Alberta Infrastructure.

There are three basic sources of emergencies:

1. natural emergencies: caused by such events as floods, lightning strikes, ice storms, tornadoes, high winds and forest fires
2. man-made or human emergencies: These emergencies are the result of human activities (e.g., fire, explosion, structural collapse, bomb threat, biohazards, vandalism, chemical release and workplace violence)
3. technological emergencies and mechanical emergencies: caused by events such as a process or system failure (e.g., safety system failure, telecommunications failure, computer system failure and power failure)

back to top


  • An emergency response plan is required for each type of potential emergency at every workplace.

  • Emergency response plans must be specific to the workplace and each type of potential emergency that may occur.

  • Types of potential emergencies and emergency response plans are developed and maintained in consultation with employees.

  • Emergency response plans must include:

    • the identification of the potential emergency

    • the identification of, location of, and operational procedures for:

      • alarms and emergency communication equipment to notify the occupants and contact emergency services

      • other emergency equipment and supplies, including first aid and fire protection requirements

    • communication requirements, including contact numbers for the nearest emergency services

    • arrangements for the transportation of injured or ill employees from the workplace to an open health care facility

    • procedures for dealing with the potential emergency, including rescue and evacuation procedures

    • training requirements specific to the type of emergency for:

    • a list of emergency response personnel trained in the operation of emergency equipment. The list may include:

      • designated first aiders, rescue and evacuation personnel

    • Hazard Assessment and Control Reports at the workplace must be reviewed and revised as a result of completed emergency reports when:

      • new hazards were identified

      • new controls were implemented

      • controls for hazards already identified were modified

Manager Responsibilities

  • Identify potential emergencies in relation to the business operations of the workplace and develop and maintain emergency response plans in consultation with affected employees.

  • Assign employees to participate as emergency response personnel.

  • Verify that supervisors carry out the emergency response plan.

  • Maintain a current written Emergency Response Plan for each type of emergency at the workplace.

  • Review and update the emergency response plans annually or when changes occur.

  • Communicate the emergency response plans to employees, visitors and contracted employers.

  • Inform building occupants of workplace-specific emergencies and emergency response plans that are relevant to their operations.

  • Provide appropriate emergency equipment, including first aid supplies and fit-tested personal protective equipment and clothing for the potential emergency.

  • Assign personnel to maintain first aid equipment and supplies and personal protective equipment in safe operating condition.

  • Post signs indicating the location of first aid supplies, emergency exits, evacuation procedures and muster points.

  • Identify and provide the required training for emergency response personnel, including those involved in first aid and evacuation.

  • Provide the resources and training for employees and workplace occupants for each type of emergency.

  • Hold emergency exercises to maintain the competency of the workplace occupants and emergency response personnel to respond.

  • Assign Emergency Reports to be written for each exercise and emergency and retain them at the workplace for at least three years.

  • Communicate the exercise results to all employees.

  • Report incidents in accordance with Incident Reporting.

  • Assign a hazard assessment lead to review and revise the Hazard Assessment and Control Report where new hazards were identified, new controls were implemented or controls for hazards were modified as a result of emergency exercises and incidents.

Assigned Emergency Response Personnel Responsibilities

  • The supervisor responsible for the emergency response team makes sure an adequate number of responders are available for each shift.

  • Complete assigned training, maintain the appropriate certifications and participate in emergency response exercises.

  • Use personal protective clothing and equipment appropriate to the emergency.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Comply with the emergency response procedures in the emergency response plan.

  • Complete the assigned training and participate in emergency response exercises.

back to top


At a workplace with multiple departments or workplaces, managers collectively determine the Workplace Manager who will be responsible for first aid requirements at that location.

  • The Workplace Manager must consider the size and the hazards of the operation and whether or not first aid requirements can be delivered collaboratively.

  • Operations that are neither low hazard nor high hazard are classified as medium hazard operations.

  • The Workplace Manager determines the means of emergency transportation suitable to the location and environmental conditions.

  • Two options are considered when determining the type of transportation to transport injured or ill employees to a medical facility:

  (1) an ambulance service capable of arriving at the workplace within 40 minutes

a suitable vehicle capable of providing transportation from the workplace and equipped with a means of communication that will allow the occupants to communicate with the medical facility:

  • an ambulance service or suitable vehicle may be an automobile, boat or aircraft

  • the driver and a first aider will accompany the injured or ill employee during transportation to a medical facility

  • The Workplace Manager determines the length of travel time from the workplace or work site to an open health care facility.

    • The travel time is classified as close (20 minutes), distant (20 to 40 minutes) or isolated (40 minutes or more).

  • Based on the above findings, the Workplace Manager determines the supplies, equipment and number of employees to be trained in first aid using the following standard:

    • all employees assigned as first aiders have Standard First Aid

    • all employees performing field work have Standard First Aid

    • ahere there is one employee at a workplace, that employee has Standard First Aid

    • a #2 first aid kit and 3 blankets are required at all low-hazard workplaces with up to 100 employees

    • the requirements in Schedule 2, Table 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Code apply for all low-hazard workplaces with 100 or more employees

    • a #2 first aid kit and 3 blankets are required at all medium-hazard workplaces with up to 50 employees

    • the requirements in Schedule 2, Table 6 of the Occupational Health and Safety Code apply for all medium-hazard workplaces with 50 or more employees

    • a #2 first aid kit and 3 blankets are required at all high-hazard workplaces with up to 10 employees

    • the requirements in Schedule 2, Table 7 of the Occupational Health and Safety Code apply for all high-hazard workplaces with 10 or more employees

    • all vehicles must be equipped with a #2 first aid kit and 3 blanket

back to top


back to top

About this Standard

Authority:   Public Service Act
Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code (Parts 7 & 11)
Alberta Fire Code
Application:   Departments, agencies and employees under the Public Service Act
Effective Date:   September 1, 2010
Contact:   Workplace Health

Last Review / Update: 2015-02-17

Directive: Occupational Health & Safety

OH&S Management
Hazard Management
OH&S Training
Emergency Preparedness
Incident Management
OH&S Program Evaluation
Glossary of Terms & Abbreviations PDF icon
OH&S Program Content (printable format)
Text only Text Only