How to Create an Evacuation Diagram

For your business to meet its obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, you need to have an evacuation diagram and procedures. While fire protection services can assist with making sure you do it properly, there is also plenty of information on the internet to show you how straightforward it can be. We’ve also included some basic information below to put you one step closer to compliance.

What Your Evacuation Diagram Needs To Have

Evacuation diagrams don’t have to be masterpieces. They don’t even have to be expertly drawn. What they do need to be, though, is accurate.

They should include the basic layout of your property, with lines to form accurate walls and doors. Mark with a red dot the area the person is in if they are staring at the diagram. From that point, they can work out how to access other parts of the building in an emergency.

A basic compass should be present in the diagram’s corner, which identifies which way is north. You will also need to include exterior exit points, which should be accessible and clear at all times.

Identify your outside assembly area a safe distance from the building, and mark it on the diagram with a red circle around it. That way, everyone knows where they should meet after a fire so management can make sure everyone is safe.

If fighting the fire is a possibility, mark the areas of the building that have wall-mounted fire extinguishers. These should be regularly serviced. You will also need to draw a green first aid sign on your diagram highlighting where first aid kits and a first aid station are located.

What Does the Law Say?

An evacuation diagram is a straightforward graphic document that every workplace needs to have. In fact, to comply with regulations, all employers, self-employed people, contractors, and people in control of a workplace must:

  • Have an evacuation procedure for emergencies, including fires, at the workplace
  • Display the evacuation procedure and diagram with the above information included
  • Practice the evacuation procedure regularly
  • Train someone to assist in an emergency with controlling or extinguishing a fire where possible

What Should Be in an Evacuation Procedure?

An evacuation procedure for your workplace doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex. It just has to allow for safe exiting of a building in an emergency and easy to understand.

When creating it, factor in the following information:

  • Emergency phone numbers
  • The nearest doctors and hospitals
  • The person in charge of dealing with the emergency – e.g., a fire warden
  • A communication system to alert staff – bell alarm, siren, visual alarm
  • What to do in an emergency (restrict the danger, raise the alarm, attend to the emergency, evacuate to the assembly point)
  • Practice frequency
  • Training for fire extinguisher use

Where Can I Get Help?

If you are struggling to put together an evacuation diagram and procedure, there are places you can access further information and assistance. WorkSafe has an abundance of helpful information, as does SafeWork Australia and the Department of Commerce.

If you operate a business with staff members, it’s your responsibility to have a valid evacuation diagram and emergency procedures. If you don’t yet have those measures in place, there’s no better time than now to start working on them.