There are a wide range of administrative actions associated with achieving a state of corporate preparedness, preserving regulatory compliance, and maintaining effective response plans. Neglectful emergency management practices can result in failed inspections, fines, infrastructure damage, negative public perceptions, and a possible government-mandated shutdown of operations. The administrative workload and task list can be daunting and time consuming, yet the effects of inactivity can negatively impact a company’s safety culture and financial bottom line.
Emergency planning and associated administrative duties must be an ongoing process. Company operations, equipment, and employees are continuously changing. Modifications, expansions, and adjustments need to be incorporated into preparedness initiatives and response planning to ensure compliance and effective responses in the event of an emergency. As a result, a methodological administrative process should be incorporated into every emergency management program.
One of the most important aspects of maintaining accurate and compliant plans is to update information in a timely manner. Cyclical response planning reviews and updates maximize efficiency and compliance of emergency management programs. The size and scope of administrative duties depends on operations, requirements, and resources. As a result, cyclical duties and actions may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Documenting hazards
- Regulatory compliance
- Documenting plan gap analysis and audit evaluations
- Communicating and documenting mitigation efforts Verification of emergency contacts
- Updating plans
- Documenting and updating training records
- Communicating with emergency response organizations
- Documenting and updating exercises and associated critiques
- Distributing plan revisions
Corporate emergency preparedness programs and applicable plans need to be reviewed annually, at a minimum. However, plan reviews and potential updates requiring administrative actions should be conducted under the following situations:
- Regulations deem changes are mandatory
- An incident has occurred that highlights new best practices
- A change in the status of current operations
- A change in internal/external response capabilities
- Changes to contact information
- Company merger or acquisition
- Site alterations/renovations
- A vulnerability analysis reveals new risks/threats
- A change in response resources/equipment
Companies must also maintain awareness of the various regulatory agencies’ plan submission requirements regarding response plan revisions. While a regulatory compliance tracking systems can itemize applicable federal, state, and local regulations, plan administrators must ensure regulatory components are documented, updated, and maintained for site-specific accuracy and compliance.
In the event of an emergency, administrative duties are crucial to response documentation. Emergency actions must be documented as soon as practical during or immediately after an emergency incident. This includes compiling notes and applicable documentation from all employees and members of the response team. The following are recommended documentation guidelines:
- Record only facts, not speculation.
- If participant does not know a particular fact, do not allow speculation or elaboration.
- Do not criticize other people's efforts and/or methods.
- Do not speculate on the cause of the emergency.
- Do not relate unqualified opinions.
Depending on assigned roles and responsibilities, administrative actions during and after an emergency may include, but are not limited to:
- Maintaining telephone logs
- Keeping a detailed record of events
- Maintaining a record of injuries and follow-up actions
- Accounting for personnel
- Coordinating notification of family members
- Issuing press releases
- Maintaining sampling records
- Tracking incident costs
- Coordinating personnel services
- Documenting incident investigations and recovery operations
- Updating response plans
- Submitting revised plans and to agencies