News & Insights
FAQs - COVID-19 and AS3745:2010 Compliance
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed uncertainty on how to retain compliance with AS3745:2010 - Planning for Emergencies in Facilities. The Regulator, Safe Work Australia, has published a Statement of Regulatory Intent that makes it clear that duty holders must make genuine attempts to comply with requirements. Compliance and enforcement activity will continue, however the focus will be on matters that pose severe risks to health and safety as well as advisory support. An employer’s ability to meet its duties given the constraints associated with the pandemic will be taken into account by regulators “provided duty holders have made genuine attempts to comply with requirements”.
With all businesses affected by changes to their normal routines TrimEVAC, Greencap's Emergency Management and Training division, has been responding to client enquiries about how to maintain compliance with AS3745:2010 during the pandemic.
To assist, TrimEVAC has prepared a summary of the most frequently asked questions in recent weeks:
Do we still need to complete scheduled Warden training?
Warden training is to provide and maintain skills, and to remain compliant training needs to be completed.
AS3745:2010 states Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) members, including nominated deputies, shall attend a skills retention activity at intervals not greater than 6 months. Cancelling training therefore risks non-compliance and means that no genuine attempt to comply has been undertaken.
To maintain compliance for Annual Fire Safety Statements, ECO training needs to be compliant.
What if we have reduced numbers on site and our wardens are working from home?
Skills retention for wardens can be delivered online and does not require ECO members to be on site. Maintaining skills is the focus of the training.
How does web-based training work?
Web-based ECO training provided by TrimEVAC is delivered ‘live’ by one of our trainers using the same training package that is used for face to face training and can be delivered via the various teleconferencing services available such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Webex.
With all the current disruption due to COVID-19 we need to reschedule our training, can we do that?
Training can be rescheduled, but to remain compliant you should maintain training as closely as possible to 6 monthly intervals.
How do we complete an Evacuation Drill if training is web-based?
Evacuation Drills can still be conducted as desktop scenarios related to your site, location, assembly area, numbers of occupants, business type etc. This is still compliant with AS3745-2010.
What does the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) need to do following changes to the number of occupants in our building?
The EPC is responsible for ensuring the emergency procedures and the numbers in the ECO reflect the needs of the occupants in the building during emergencies. With reduced numbers of occupants (including vacant floors etc) the emergency procedures and warden numbers can be changed to suit. For example, the EPC may revert to after-hours emergency response procedures.
Regarding the total number of wardens required, the EPC will need to maintain adequate ratios of wardens to occupants. The EPC will need to ensure that any changes to emergency procedures and the ECO are communicated to all remaining occupants.
Most of the existing wardens are now working from home and there are now not enough on site to provide support remaining occupants. What do we need to do?
Training will be required to ensure there are enough trained wardens on site.
The EPC has changed to the after-hours response, how does the ECO adapt?
The EPC will need to ensure the ECO roles and responsibilities are defined. For example, the Chief Warden is working from home so a member of the ECO (or security) has been nominated during emergencies to go to the Fire Control Room or FIP and meet with emergency services as required. If additional training is required the EPC is responsible for organising.
What do we do if we have an Infectious Disease emergency?
TrimEVAC have added an emergency response to an infectious disease response to its Warden training package. The training highlights the needs for calm, isolation, and an orderly response that maintains social distancing as required.
Our evacuation diagrams are due for update, can we still get these?
Yes, TrimEVAC’s graphics team and consultants are still available to give advice and produce evacuation diagrams as required.
Can we get an update of the Emergency Response Procedures (ERP) Manual?
Yes, TrimEVAC are still producing manuals and proving renewal updates and updates for building with changed procedures during the current pandemic situation.