Effective emergency response plans

This alert highlights the importance of having an effective emergency response plan in case emergency services cannot respond to an incident.



WorkSafe inspectors have reported an increasing number of occasions where emergency response plans on construction sites do not provide a contingency plan when emergency services are unable to respond to or deal with a site emergency.

All construction sites should have an emergency response plan. In most cases, the plan will be part of the health and safety co-ordination plan. However, with complex and largescale projects, a separate response plan may be necessary. 

In either case, consultation with the relevant emergency services may be necessary, particularly where the work involves high rise or excavation.

Control measures

WorkSafe expects principal contractors and construction employers to have emergency response plans that:

  • are site specific
  • consider all stages of the construction project and the ability of emergency services to attend and access the point of emergency
  • make provision for issues including, but not limited to:
    • plant and vehicle rollover
    • contact with powerlines
    • excavation collapse
    • scaffold/structure collapse
    • sudden incapacity and immobilisation of workers (particularly in locations that are difficult to access)
    • emergency service vehicle access to the site
  • include details of:
    • nearest medical facilities
    • first aid provisions
  • include procedures for when the relevant emergency services may not respond or be able to deal with the emergency
  • are regularly reviewed and accessible to all workers at the site.