An Evacuation Planning Matrix is now available on OSHA's Web site to give employers ideas, assistance and online resources to help them reduce their vulnerability to and plan for workplace emergencies.

"Recent events in the United States have underscored the critical importance of workplace evacuation planning," says OSHA chief John L. Henshaw. "An effective evacuation plan will increase the likelihood that employees will reach shelter safely if an emergency that requires evacuation does occur."

The Evacuation Planning Matrix includes a checklist for employers to help evaluate their existing plans to or help construct new ones; a zone pyramid system to evaluate a workplace's risk of a terrorist incident; and other related online resources to help employers and employees develop emergency evacuation plans.

The new guidance does not create legal obligations for employers or create rights for third parties. Legal obligations under the OSH Act are created by statute, regulations and standards.