Guidelines for developing and implementing a plan.
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Do you need to comply?
Yes – under the provisions of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 (Vic), the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic).
Conditions of compliance
Under Victorian occupational health and safety law, employers have an obligation to provide and maintain a safe workplace. This obligation extends to all people at the workplace, whether they are employees or not. Developing an Emergency Management Plan (EMP) contributes to the duty of providing a safe working environment.
Schools are required to develop and maintain an EMP that describes actions to be taken before, during and following an emergency to ensure the ongoing safety of staff, students and others.
Schools should ensure that staff, students and the school community know what the plan contains, and through the provision of appropriate training, what they are required to do during an emergency.
School responsibilities to plan for the safety of staff and students involved in school activities extends beyond planning for events occurring under normal circumstances. All school activities, regardless of where they are to be conducted, must be planned in such a way as to ensure that the safety of staff and students is maintained, and that students are adequately supervised, even during an emergency.
If you have to comply, what do you have to do?
A school EMP should include:
the range of emergencies covered
a site plan
a general description of the school and its environment
an assessment of risks and hazards facing the school
roles and responsibilities of staff and others
procedures for reporting emergencies
procedures to be followed by staff and students during an emergency
alternative evacuation assembly areas
emergency services contact numbers
measures to prevent or reduce the impact of emergencies that do occur
arrangements for establishing recovery programs following emergencies
consultation with relevant emergency services concerning appropriateness of the content.
Schools should also plan for influenza pandemic and fire related emergencies (particularly if the school is in a high risk area for wildfire or intends undertaking school activities in a high risk area).
Emergency procedures in school emergency management plans should be exercised on a regular basis, preferably once a term, under a variety of emergency scenarios.
Exercises should test:
notification and reporting procedures
roles and responsibilities of nominated personnel
offsite and onsite evacuation and lock down alternatives
communications within the school and to the school community
emergency services liaison.
Schools should be aware that fire services and police can assist in training exercises and trial evacuations by acting as observers as well as assisting in the review of school emergency procedures.
A school may wish to anticipate the various critical incidents that could occur and require the implementation of the school’s emergency management policy and procedures. These incidents could occur on the school site, on camps or excursions, during or after school hours and during travel to or from school.
Incidents could include, amongst others:
the death of a staff member or student
serious injury or assault ( or threat) of a staff member of student
the disappearance of a student
damage to the school premises
contamination by hazardous material
flood, storm or any other natural event
outbreak of disease
motor vehicle collision
witnessing traumatic events, and
siege, hostage or use of fire arms.
For each of the above critical incidents, a school might like to specify the relevant procedures and staff from the emergency management plan to respond to the incident.
What are the consequences if you don’t comply?
You may be in breach of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 (Vic).
You may also be in breach of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic.) and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007 (Vic.). Non-compliance with the minimum standards for school registration could result in the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA):
imposing conditions on a school’s registration
prohibiting a school from enrolling any new students
requiring the school to report its non-compliance to parents
suspending, cancelling or imposing conditions on a school’s registration.