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OSHA Offers Evacuation Planning Matrix

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced the release of a new tool to help employers plan for emergency evacuation of the workplace in emergency situations. The new Evacuation Planning Matrix located on OSHA's website will provide employers with ideas, assistance, and on-line resources to help them reduce their vulnerability to and plan for workplace emergencies.

"Recent events in the United States have underscored the critical importance of workplace evacuation planning," said John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "An effective evacuation plan will increase the likelihood that employees will reach shelter safely if an emergency that requires evacuation does occur."

The Evacuation Planning Matrix includes a checklist for employers to help them evaluate their existing plans to or help in constructing new ones; a zone pyramid system to evaluate a workplace's risk of a terrorist incident; and other related on-line resources to help employers and employees develop emergency evacuation plans.

OSHA is committed to strengthening workplace planning and preparedness so that employers and workers may better protect themselves and reduce the likelihood that they may be harmed in the event of an emergency requiring evacuation. OSHA continues to work with other Federal response agencies to provide accurate, current information in this rapidly developing area of occupational safety and health.

The new guidance is offered to assist employers and workers who are interested in implementing plans and procedures for possible emergency events. However, the guidance does not create legal obligations for employers or create rights for third parties. Legal obligations under the OSH Act are created by statute, regulations, and standards.

OSHA is dedicated to assuring worker safety and health. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit the OSHA website.

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