EPA and OSHA require facilities to have a variety of written plans to address workplace hazards and emergency response and to outline the available resources and responses to handle those situations. Many of these regulations require annual or "regular" updates, but too often, only the date changes on the plan and it becomes less of a resource over time.
As facilities tighten budgets and safety and environmental compliance officers take on additional duties, the time spent to thoroughly and regularly review response plans should not be sacrificed or lessened. Reviewing response plans is just as important as other vital safety checks that are done on a more frequent basis.
A response plan that is covered with a layer of dust can be just as much of a hazard as a broken machine guard or a non-functioning emergency shower. None will properly guard against the hazard it is intended to correct. Unfortunately, and especially when response plans aren't reviewed frequently, the task often takes a bit more time than other safety audits –- but keeping the task forever on the bottom of a "to-do" list is the same as allowing an unsafe practice to go unchecked in the workplace.
An emergency is not the time to find out that the plant manager listed as the key contact tasked with evacuating the entire processing area retired three years ago and no one seems to know the name of the new one, or that floor plans have changed and the exit routes are no longer viable.