21/10/2014 | Occupational Safety and Health

What are companies’ obligations in relation to emergency measures?

In general terms, Article 20 of the Occupational Risks Prevention Act requires all companies to act as follows:

  • To analyse possible emergency situations.
  • To adopt the necessary measures in the field of first aid, fire-fighting and employee evacuation.
  • For these purposes, to designate the personnel entrusted with putting these measures into practice and to check from time to time that they are functioning properly. Such personnel must be adequately trained, of sufficient number and must have the appropriate material.
  • To organise the relations needed with services outside the company in the field of first aid, emergency medical aid, life-saving and fire-fighting, in such form as to ensure that they are fast and effective.

The employer must, in the planning of its preventive activity in emergency situations, take account of the size of the company and its activity, and the possible presence of persons from outside the company.

There are in specific terms a number of standards which make it compulsory to introduce internal emergency plans in certain buildings or companies, such as:

  • Hospitals.
  • Teaching Centres.
  • Hotels.
  • Entertainment and recreational activities.
  • Sports facilities.
  • Bars, cafeterias and restaurants.
  • Libraries, archives and museums.
  • Companies which, because of the type and amount of substances they use in their productive process, come within the field of application of Royal Decree No. 1254/1997 of 16 July which passed the measures for control of the risks inherent to serious accidents in which hazardous substances are involved.

Thus the degree of organisation required will depend on the existence or otherwise of specific provisions which require the company to draw up and introduce an internal emergency and evacuation plan, as well as on the company’s activity and its size.

Companies which are not required to design a self-protection or an internal emergency plan must guarantee that their employees are protected by minimum planning of the action to be taken in emergency situations, along with an adequate level of training and information.