Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Gas Pipeline Grid MItigation and Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Feb 11, 2016

Gas pipeline grid safety regulations cover design, construction, testing, operations and maintenance. These regulations include EHS-focused requirements for damage prevention, public awareness, integrity management, training programs, as well as many others. While ensuring the specific requirements of the law, effective emergency management provisions should also include identification, evaluation, prevention, and control for any situation that can adversely affect employees, the community, the environment, or operational sustainability. This is especially true for gas pipeline operations that often span large geographic areas, cross waterways, and come in close proximity to environmentally sensitive areas, schools, hospitals, residential areas, and other critical socio-economic foundations.

Types of gas facilities may include:

Gathering pipelines transport gas and crude oil away from the points of production (i.e., wellheads) to facilities for processing or refinement or to transmission pipelines.
Transmission pipelines move gas and hazardous liquids long distances across the country, often at high pressures.
Distribution pipelines are generally smaller lines that take natural gas from transmission pipelines and deliver it to individual homes and businesses. Distribution pipeline systems operate at much lower pressures than transmission pipelines.

Gas operations infrastructures are a combination of transmission pipelines, compressor stations, underground natural gas storage sites, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. .According to 2007-2008 data from the US Energy Information Association, the natural gas pipeline grid is comprised of:

  • More than 210 natural gas pipeline systems.
  • 305,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines
  • More than 1,400 compressor stations that maintain pressure on the natural gas pipeline network and assure continuous forward movement of supplies
  • More than 11,000 delivery points, 5,000 receipt points, and 1,400 interconnection points that provide for the transfer of natural gas throughout the United States.
  • 24 hubs or market centers that provide additional interconnections
  • 400 underground natural gas storage facilities
  • 49 locations where natural gas can be imported/exported via pipelines
  • 8 LNG import facilities and 100 LNG peaking facilities

gas_pipeline_network.jpgSource: Department of Transporatation

While all pipeline risks cannot be averted, incidents can be minimized if mitigation and response planning measures are implemented and prioritized. Aging infrastructure, adverse conditions, unsafe activities, or ineffective responses pose risks to occupants, facilities, the environment, and/or communities. Gas facilities and traversing pipelines may require varied preparedness and response planning strategies in the event of a release in a sensitive or populated area.

PHMSA suggests the following mitigation measures should be in place:

  • Ensure Integrity management (IM) oversight
  • Evaluate valve inspections programs and documentation efforts
  • Verify operational leak detection systems
  • Collaborate with Public Association for Public Awareness programs including the Pipelines and
  • Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA)
  • Promote “Damage Prevention Programs” in local communities, such as 811
  • Participate in Community Assistance and Technical Support (CATS)

Response plans for gas facilities should define, plan for, document, and provide guidance to those responding to a variety of identified risks and potential emergencies. All information, including emergency contacts, should be regularly updated for accuracy. Response procedures for each likely scenario should:

  • Be rigorous enough, yet standardized, to minimize subjectivity or interpretation, and preclude oversights in order to accomplish the assigned mission and critical tasks.
  • Include estimated response times, required capabilities, needs of the population, and identified success criteria.
  • Comply with all regulations and internal guidelines. Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines, negative public perception, and possibly government-mandated shutdown of operations.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Pipeline

Chemical Plant Response Training and Exercises

Posted on Thu, Feb 04, 2016

Chemical plants present unique preparedness and incident response readiness challenges. When all potential hazards are analyzed and evaluated according to their likelihood of causing injury, damage, and severity of the impact, a regulatory compliant, effective, and site specific training and exercise program should be implemented.

Chemical plants are required to conduct and document response training and exercises to satisfy certain EPA and OSHA regulations. The objective of safety and response plan training and exercises is to promote a safe work environment, instill specialized response skills, and improve overall preparedness. Although training and exercises are often considered separate components, these coordinated methods blend to optimize safety and preparedness objectives.

Training: An individual instructional component or instructor-led classroom-based activity with a focus on individual knowledge development sufficient to perform specific roles and undertake prescribed responsibilities.

Exercise: The activity of practicing roles, responsibilities, and/or procedures with a focus on development of individual skills and/or to test and identify deficiencies in plans and procedures.

Chemical plant emergency managers should aim to create an efficient method to track individual training needs and identify team members’ current qualifications. Through proper maintenance of a training portal, individuals will remain at peak optimal response capabilities. Training should include, but not be limited to:

  • Familiarization with Response Plan
  • Individual roles and responsibilities.
  • Plan review training whenever a substantial change or revision is made to the plan that affects organization, procedures, roles and responsibilities, or response capability.
  • Refresher courses, as necessary

OSHA’s HAZWOPER training for general employee may range from “first responder awareness level” to the “hazardous material specialist” level. Each chemical plant under a corporate umbrella may require further specialized training depending on the current operations, unique hazards, location, and associated regulations.

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The goal of the exercise program should be to improve the overall readiness and capabilities of emergency response program that encourages:

  • Realistic scenarios
  • Proper training validation
  • Effective emergency plans
  • Identification of action items
  • Operational response capabilities
  • Preparedness to respond to incidents, regardless of the threat or hazard.

To ensure chemical plant employees and response personnel are prepared to respond to an incident in an efficient and effective manner, exercise guidelines should be established as minimum requirements within an emergency preparedness program. Management should ensure that:

  • All aspects of response plans are fully exercised annually (at a minimum) with participation of the appropriate response, incident management, and support teams.
  • Each response plan component is exercised at more frequent intervals, as appropriate, to prepare for the main annual exercise.
  • Notification exercises for each team and response component are verified and practiced at least twice per year. This exercise should involve unannounced checks of the communication procedures, equipment, and contact information.
  • National and local training and exercise requirements should be used to assess the overall preparedness of your response teams.

Companies often utilize the following range of exercise activities in planning and executing their program:

Level 1 Tabletop Exercises: Useful for considering policy issues, and for building team relationships in a low stress environment.
Level 2 Mobilization and/or Notification Exercise: Used to validate mobilization and response times, and verify internal/external notifications and contact information.
Level 3 Limited Exercises: Used to validate mobilization and response capabilities of specific team functions, and the status of integration and coordination among these groups and other company-based response organizations.
Level 4 Full Scale Exercise: Full-scale exercises offer comprehensive validation of current emergency and crisis management system, and should demonstrate a degree of response integration throughout the system.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Training and Exercises, Chemical Industry

Shrinking the Regulatory Compliance Costs for Bulk Storage Facilities

Posted on Thu, Jan 28, 2016

Bulk storage facility emergency managers are often responsible for predicting, preparing, complying, documenting, and possibly, responding to emergencies. The task requires site-specific planning, internal and external response coordination, training, and exercises. However if bulk storage facilities are not compliant with preparedness regulations, the ramifications can be exceedingly detrimental to employees, the environment, and the company’s financial bottom line.

In December 2015, Aloha Petroleum, a subsidiary of Sunoco, agreed to pay $650,000 to settle Clean Air and Clean Water acts violations at its Hilo East bulk fuel storage facility. According to the EPA, the facility exceeded emission limits at the loading rack and had inadequate secondary spill containment for the storage tanks. The company agreed to cease operations at the site until compliant modifications could be implemented.

Every month, audits and enforcement mandates are issued from various federal and state agencies that oversee bulk storage tank facilities. Costly non-compliance fines continually result from the lack of implemented, thorough, or effective regulatory compliance programs.

A methodological regulatory compliance tracking component should be part of bulk storage operator’ emergency management program. This itemized tracking process should detail applicable federal, state, and local regulation, and include information required to satisfy each applicable regulation. A regulatory tracking system should, at a minimum, contain the following components:

  • Operational categories: Categories can range from air quality and hazardous materials, to construction safety and general safety and health. Depending on the detail required by the regulations, further breakouts by subcategories may also be required.
  • Applicable Regulation Level: Regulations should be further broken down to Federal, state or local regulation categories.
  • Time/Date Stamping: The time and date that each regulation was last updated.
  • Compliance Feedback: Applicable notes regarding compliance or non-compliance.
  • Industry Standard: Best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
  • Facility Compliance responsibility: Identify contact assigned to maintain compliance for each regulatory requirement.
  • Action Item Reporting: Provides a list of outstanding and completed action items, along with due dates and person(s) assigned. Reports should have filters to customize queries as required by the users.

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Modernizing compliance tracking efforts can often result in cost savings. The tactical cost of compliance can be reduced through a web-based compliance tracking module. Updating evolving regulatory information among multiple facilities and/or incorporating new or newly acquired facilities can be effectively managed and streamlined with the use of a database. With required response plans in an easy-to-use electronic format, companies can easily confirm detailed compliance elements and effortlessly adhere to the various regulatory submission policies.

The impact of non-compliance fines and potential shutdowns can be financially destructive for bulk storage facilities, as well as detrimental to community relations and corporate image. Yet, maintaining regulatory compliance does require a dedicated budget. Fortunately, a web-based regulatory tracking system can reduce the overall cost of company-wide compliance by:

  • Identifying applicable regulations based on operations and site-specific details
  • Automating core compliance and response planning activities
  • Simplifying automated tracking and management
  • Enabling EHS employees to spend time planning and performing versus complying and reporting
  • Automating corporate governance and controls
  • Optimizing and coordinating drills, testing, and actual emergency responses
  • Updating regulation rules and controls for every facility

New or newly acquired facilities can be easily absorbed into a web-based company-wide regulatory compliance tracking program. EHS managers or the facility managers at new locations should perform a thorough regulatory gap analysis or audit to identify compliance deficiencies. Managers of a new or acquired location should then conform, comply, and correspond with company directives, disclose applicable regulations, and mitigate non-compliant components to ensure compliance.

The cost savings for implementing a modernized, web-based regulatory tracking component can be significant. Considering regulations are aimed at prevention, minimizing the impact of incidents, and improving a company’s ability to respond when emergencies occur, companies should continue to evaluate the effectiveness and tediousness of their current programs to determine if a web-based program is a better fit in 2016.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: Regulatory Compliance

Key Preparedness and Response Planning Tips for Downstream Industries

Posted on Thu, Jan 21, 2016

According to Modalpoint, one of the “Top 10 Oil and Gas Business Drivers for 2016” will be in the downstream sector. With increased supply driving the downstream industry, certain refineries, petrochemical plants, petroleum products distributors, retail outlets and natural gas distribution companies should ensure EHS preparedness and response programs are up-to-date, effective, and compliant.

Plan deficiencies and non-compliance has proven to be expensive, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous to employees and the surrounding communities. As a result, maximizing the effectiveness of response plans and preparedness programs should be viewed as an investment in its workforce and the sustainability of the company, rather than as a subordinate expense.

By systematically analyzing operational risks and hazards, and aligning emergency plans with corresponding regulations, emergencies, crises, and targeted non-compliance fines can be minimized. The following are key preparedness and response tips to consider in the continual effort to improve a response planning program:

Data Accuracy: Establishing readily available up-to-date information has been proven to limit the duration of the emergency. The faster responders can locate, assess, access and implement accurate response actions to mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained, and operations can be restored to “business as usual”.

Training: Training programs that include properly trained personnel, guidance, documentation, and oversight help ensure compliance with agency regulations. These regulatory requirements are designed to prevent harm and ensure adequate responses to protect the public. However, companies should not rely on regulatory training requirements and agency inspections to ensure training programs are sufficient. Companies should perform internal training to create corporate assurance, enhance EHS program value, improve operational safety, and ideally prevent harmful incidents from occurring.

Exercises: Realistic exercise scenarios can often highlight potential deficiencies and failures in the response plan and procedures, comprehension of individual roles and responsibilities, and partnership coordination. Identified deficiencies often reveal mitigation opportunities and valuable response knowledge.

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Accessibility: Web-based response plans offer the greatest secured accessibility option for stakeholders, auditors, and inspectors while bolstering an entire emergency management program. With web-based technology and an Internet connection, response planning program information embedded with database driven software can be immediately and securely available without the “version confusion” typically found in other formats. Both paper-based plans and those housed on a company intranet are often out of date with multiple versions in various locations, potentially misinforming the response team.

Collaboration: Response planning program effectiveness can be optimized through effective interoperability: the ability for diverse organizations to work together for a greater good. Broadening the scope of response expertise can greatly benefit a facility by limiting the timeline of potentially escalating emergencies. Local agencies may provide additional response knowledge based on particular research, experiences, or occupational training in a particular area of study.

Auditing: Audits, whether conducted by in-house professionals or experienced consultants, can often reveal the same inadequacies and mitigation opportunities as regulatory agencies. Regrettably, most companies address response plan gaps only after an incident or a financially-impacting inspection occurs. With an objective eye, a gap analysis generated by an audit can bolster an response planning program and minimize the chance of impeding incidents or budget-crippling regulatory fines.

Mitigation: While all risks cannot not be averted, a facility can become better prepared for disasters if the procedural risk mitigation measures are implemented. Adverse conditions, unsafe activities, or ineffective responses pose risks to occupants, facilities, the environment, and/or communities. The risk assessment process can be used to identify situations that may lead to incidents or prolong a response. By eliminating or mitigating risks, companies can reduce the potential for emergency situations.

Best Practices Implementation: Applying best practices to a response planning program enables emergency managers to leverage past experiences as a means to improve planning efforts for future emergency response scenarios. By analyzing past incidents and responses, executing enhancements, and reinforcing lessons learned, companies will be better prepared than their historical counterparts.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management Program

Business Continuity Planning Strategies to Follow in 2016!

Posted on Thu, Jan 14, 2016

With the new year, every company should assess their business continuity risks, operational vulnerabilities, and recovery time objectives for each critical business function. Companies who understand these threats to financial resilience can become better prepared for and possibly mitigate these business continuity issues.

Mitigation includes recognition, comprehension, communication, and implementation of modifications, procedures, preparations, and/or assets that can directly minimize the impact or likelihood of the threat, simplify/automate recovery requirements, and/or accelerate recovery time. Every company and each facility has its own unique associated risks, however through dedicated risk mitigation analysis and proactive measures, hazards and business disruptions can be minimized.

Threats and vulnerabilities can stem from both external and internal actions. Therefore, companies must analyze potential threats from a variety of potential sources. A localized vulnerability and impact analysis should include, but is not limited to:

  • Weather patterns
  • Geographical influences
  • Security efforts
  • Cyber evaluations
  • Inherent operational hazards
  • Facility design
  • Maintenance issues

A business impact analysis should be used to identify critical business processes, potential recovery strategies, and areas that could benefit from risk mitigation. This resilience assessment tool should identify potential vulnerabilities and initiate proactive changes to minimize impacts if a disaster were to occur. If the level of risk identified is deemed unsafe or unacceptable for operational viability, additional recovery options, safety procedures, or applicable strategies may need to be developed and implemented.

Risk recognition can occur through many paths including inspections, audits, and job hazard analyses. However, a detailed risk analysis should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Identify site specific assets that are unique to a specific location, facility, and operation
  • List hazards that corresponds with each asset: Multiple hazards may be applicable to a singular asset.
  • For each hazard, consider both high probability/low impact scenarios and low probability/high impact scenarios.
  • Mitigation opportunities: As you assess potential impacts, identify any asset vulnerabilities or weaknesses that would make it susceptible to loss. These vulnerabilities are opportunities for hazard prevention through procedures/processes upgrades or risk mitigation.
  • Identify threat scenario probability as low, medium or high.
  • Identify impact potential as low, medium or high for each of the following:
    • People
    • Property
    • Operations
    • Environment
    • Financial
    • Regulatory or legal
    • Contractual
    • Brand image or reputation
    • Determine priority level for planning and mitigation

The probability and impact severity should determine the priority level for correcting the vulnerability. The higher the probability and impact severity, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective actions. With priorities in place, mitigation measures may include:

  • Changes in daily processes and procedures
  • Isolation and elimination of the root cause of a potential threat
  • Addressing non-compliance issues
  • Implementing risk reducing engineering controls, when applicable
  • Implementing proactive administrative controls or work place practices
  • Establishing a process to identify inoperable or malfunctioning equipment and machinery through systematic inspections
  • Developing or amending site specific Business Continuity Plans (BCP) to reflect vulnerabilities

An effective BCP is able to capture and maintain essential information for responding to unplanned incidents that cause business interruption. Being able to conduct business, despite uncontrollable circumstances, can ensure a company viability in the shadow of adversity.

The cycle of the business continuity planning should be incorporated into every business process. By instituting the following cycle, business interrupting events can be planned for and procedures can be implemented to maintain critical business processes.

  1. PLAN: Identify potential risks/threats, specialized trigger events, impacted business processes/activities, incident response structure, warning and communication process.
  2. ESTABLISH: Define parameters of business continuity strategy, communication and documentation processes, training requirements, detailed employee/ vendor contact information, and key vendor and/or supplier dependencies.
  3. IMPLEMENT: Initiate response checklists and potential relocation strategies in the event of business disruption.
  4. TRAIN: Train employees on continuity roles, responsibilities, and procedures.
  5. MONITOR: Verify equipment requirements, primary and alternate facility details, and application and software requirements.
  6. REVIEW: Analyze processes of the BCP to ensure critical business processes can be maintained.
  7. EXERCISE: Perform simulations to verify comprehension of the BCP.
  8. MAINTAIN: Update key details and processes if deficiencies and inaccuracies are identified
  9. OPERATE: Engage critical processes and Recovery Time Objectives, as necessary.
  10. IMPROVE: Incorporate the cyclical process in an overall business continuity program to continuously align a response to critical business processes and their associated risks.

 

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Business Continuity, Business Risk

2016 EHS Conferences to Consider

Posted on Thu, Jan 07, 2016

Corporate emergency management and EHS professionals are continually challenged to optimize workplace safety, improve processes based on lessons learned experiences, and balance the profit/loss scale with optimal sustainability. Whether bound by industry downturns, budget cutbacks, or executive barricades, striving to meet this challenge while continuing to reduce the number of incidents at one facility or across an enterprise is a daunting task.

In order for those responsible for corporate emergency management to strengthen company resolve, apply best practices, and incorporate proven strategies, they need to be exposed to and educated by industry innovators. When budgets are restrained, every opportunity for peer collaboration, communication, and education becomes a valuable tool for corporate sustainability and longevity. The ability to share proven methodology can lead to improved processes and cost-savings outcomes.

Emergency management conferences can aid in fostering budget-friendly, best-practices implementations and provide financially sound resources that sustain a culture of safety and preparedness. While some of the conferences below are industry specific, the list of 2016 events can inspire professionals and enhance their company programs. (The list reflects statements from conference presenters and should not be considered a TRP Corp endorsement.)

International Disaster Conference and Expo: March 1-3, 2016 (New Orleans, LA)
This conference unites public and private sector professionals from around the world for discussions regarding policy, lessons learned, best practices, and forward thinking, resulting in the mitigation of loss of life and property when catastrophic events occur.

Disaster Recovery Journal Spring World: March 13-16, 2016 (Orlando, FL)
Industry leaders gather to explore topics that address some of today’s most challenging and pressing business continuity and disaster response issues. Break-out sessions are scheduled to address strategic, managerial, technical, information, advanced, and emergency response.

Preparedness, Emergency Response and Recovery Consortium and Exposition: March 22-24, 2016 (Orlando, FL)
This conference brings together health care, medical, public health and volunteer emergency management personnel involved in disaster recovery and response efforts. Focus is placed on coordination and collaboration between the various organizations and stakeholders contributing to disaster preparedness, health care response, rescue and evacuation, sheltering in place, and recovery operations.

International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility (HSSE–SR): April 11-13, 2016 (Stavanger, Norway)
This biennial event brings together health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility leaders and professionals working in the international oil and gas sector to share new ideas, process improvements, technological advancements, and innovative applications to enhance HSE performance.

Continuity Insights Management Conference: April 18-20, 2016 (Nashville, TN)
This conference provides the opportunity for strategic business continuity discussions, where professionals can learn from and network with those responsible for the integrity, availability, resilience, and security of their organizations. The conference includes a review of the latest technologies and practices, and the ability to earn additional certification with post-conference workshops.

Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference: April 19-21, 2016 (Tacoma, WA)
This regional emergency preparedness conference in the Pacific Northwest annually hosts nearly 700 people representing business, schools, government, the nonprofit sector, emergency management professionals, and volunteer organizations. Speakers and exhibitors provide cutting-edge information on subjects such as business continuity planning, school safety, public health preparedness, homeland security, and public information.

2016 Governor's Hurricane Conference: May 8-13, 2016 (Orlando, FL)
The Governor's Hurricane Conference focuses on hurricane planning, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Over 300 hours of training and workshops covering all aspects of hurricane readiness, full of the latest trends, topics, tools and technologies to best improve your disaster response/recovery processes will be offered.

IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security: May 10-12, 2016 (Waltham, MA)
Brings together innovators from leading academic, industry, Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, and government programs to provide a forum to discuss ideas, concepts, and experimental results. This year’s event will showcase emerging technologies in cyber-security; attack and disaster preparation, recovery, and response; land and maritime border security; and bio metrics and forensics.

World Conference on Disaster Management: June 6-9, 2016 (Toronto, ON Canada)
This conference delivers a global perspective on current and emerging business continuity, emergency management, risk management, crisis communications and first response issues. WCDM brings together the most diverse mix of professions and promotes thought provoking conversations through specially designed networking opportunities.

29th Annual Environmental Health, and Safety Seminar: June 6-9, 2016 (Galveston, TX)
The Texas Chemical Council (TCC) and Association of Chemical Industry of Texas (ACIT) in collaboration with the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) and the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance (LCIA)'s EHS Seminar provides an opportunity to enhance regulatory knowledge, learn from best practices, and hear from experts in their field.

Volunteer Protection Programs Participants’ Association: Aug. 29 - Sept.1, 2016 (Kissimmee, FL)
Encourages and provides opportunities for EHS professionals to network, learn, and advance as leaders in occupational safety and health issues. Participants range from safety and health managers, employee safety team members, industrial hygienists, union representatives, consultants, environmental health specialists, and human resource managers Government agency representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are also available for networking and education.

IAEM-USA Annual Conference & EMEX: October 14-19, 2016 (Savannah, GA)
Partnering conference of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMEX) that provides a forum for current trends and topics, information about the latest tools and technology in emergency management and homeland security, and advances IAEM-USA committee work. Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health, and related professions to exchange ideas on collaborating to protect lives and property from disaster.

Clean Gulf: November 1-3, 2016 (Tampa, FL)
Opportunity for companies, regulatory agencies, and associations involved in exploration, production, shipping, transportation or storage of petroleum, petrochemicals or hazardous materials to view the latest products, services and technologies, as well as hear about the latest trends and developments in the oil spill response industry. This event is co-located with the Deepwater Prevention & Response Conference.

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: DHS, Conference

Happy Holidays From TRP Corp!

Posted on Thu, Dec 24, 2015



TRP's "Top 10" Corporate Preparedness Blogs of 2015

Posted on Thu, Dec 17, 2015

As Technical Response Planning Corporation begins 2016 and its 21st year of innovation and service, we would like to share our subscribers’ “Top Ten” blogs from 2015. While the topics vary, the goal of each blog is to provide a resourceful, informative article that guides professionals in developing effective, compliant, cohesive, and world-class response plans. We hope corporate and facility emergency managers, first responders, and industrial safety professionals can utilize these blogs to advance emergency management, preparedness initiatives, and safety efforts in 2016.

TRP's “Top Ten” 2015 blog articles include:

10. Why Real-Time Incident Management Systems are Now EXPECTED!: Instantaneous access to communication and information is becoming ingrained in many corporate communication structures. As a result, real-time technology must be applied to Incident Management methodology. From the moment an incident is discovered, the response process of information gathering, assessments, response coordination, and documentation should not be halted by the communication barriers of the past.

9. The Importance of Response Plan Training for the First Responder: The rapid mobilization and proficiency of initial actions, as well as response procedure familiarity is essential in order to minimize potential chaos, scenario consequences, and plausible chain-reaction events. This blog highlights best practices for initial response actions and details the awareness and operational levels of training.

8. MITIGATION: The Ever-Present Emergency Management Tool: This blog identifies objectives for mitigation implementations and highlights response planning mitigation measures. It is impractical to believe that companies can spend relentlessly on emergency management mitigation efforts. This blog includes discussion points for identifying and prioritizing mitigation directives to ensure the best possible emergency management practices are in place.

7. Tips for Merging Response Plan Templates and ICS: This blog identifies 12 template topics and 15 ICS features that should be integrated within site-specific response plans. By integrating up-to-date, site-specific response plans, company EHS protocols, and Incident Command System (ICS) components, response operations can be streamlined and coherent without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries

6. EPA Fines Multiple Companies for SPCC Plan Violations: This blog highlights a series of companies that received EPA fines related to SPCC deficiencies. This blog emphasizes the reality that costs associated with effective emergency management, planning efforts, and overall spill prevention are often much less than the costs associated with fines, spill clean-up, and other civil liabilities.

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5. 6 Goals of Effective Corporate Emergency Management Communication: It is essential that companies establish and train employees on their specific workplace emergency communications protocols in order to attain effective communication. This blog includes foundations of effective emergency communications and strategies that elevate the process.

4. Company Fire Pre-Plans and Response Planning for Storage Tank Facilities: This blog highlights storage tank specifications necessary for fire pre-planning, as well as response planning components specific to facilities with on-site storage tanks. In order for companies to sustain effective response plans, site-specific tank and facility details must be incorporated into the response plan. This blog also includes discussion points for storage tank facility site control, firefighting, and containment.

3. Common Response Planning Mistakes in Industrial Fire Pre-Plans: After 20 years of providing world-class fire pre-plans and consulting services, our experts have seen similar prevailing fire pre-planning oversights. This blog reveals three of the top Industrial Fire Pre-Planning mistakes and reveals methods to avoid them.

2. Why Test Preparedness and Response Plans with Tabletop Exercises?: Exercises are an essential part of emergency management. Best practices dictate that exercises improve overall readiness and capabilities of your emergency response program. This blog identifies the various benefits associated with conducting tabletop exercises, as well as exercise planning considerations.

1. 7 Corporate Social Media Strategies for Incident Management: As social media becomes a widely acceptable means of communication, emergency managers must adjust communications plans to include methods for assessing and distributing communication through this popular and instantaneous method. Companies must be tuned into the vast digital network of social chatter. This blog highlights seven critical components of a communication plan that should be incorporated into social media conversations.

Response Planning For Large Organizations with Multi-Facility Operations DOWNLOAD

Tags: corporate preparedness

Corporate Emergency Management Terminology Every Manager Should Know

Posted on Thu, Dec 10, 2015

Every business has unique terminology specific to department responsibilities and operational processes. However, when it comes to safety, preparedness, and emergency response, all employees should be trained in common emergency management terminology. Despite the varying and divergent roles, knowledge of universal emergency management concepts should be communicated in order to eliminate confusion, strengthen engagement, and promote a culture of safety.

EHS managers should not assume that company personnel identify with the context of preparedness and emergency management terminology. With a collective understanding of general emergency management concepts, companies can strengthen preparedness initiatives and lay the foundation for a flexible, effective, efficient, and all-hazards incident management response.
FEMA identifies five mission areas that can serve as a basic understanding of the emergency management terminology and processes. These areas include:

  • Prevention: Prevent, avoid, or stop a risk, threat, imminent, or actual act.
  • Protection: Protect employees, citizens, residents, visitors and assets against threats and hazards.
  • Mitigation: Reduce the loss of life and property by lessening risks, threats, and impacts of a potential scenario.
  • Response: Respond efficiently to save lives, protect property, and the environment, and meet basic needs in the aftermath of an incident.
  • Recovery: Recover with a focus on the timely restoration, strengthening and revitalization of infrastructure, operations, and affected communities.

Collaborative understanding can often be the bridge to preventing, stabilizing, and recovering from a company or facility emergency situation. The following commonly used emergency management terms should be familiar to employees.

1. Response Planning - The development of plans, policies and procedures to address the physical and/or business consequences of residual risks which are above the level of acceptance to a business, its assets and its stakeholders. Planning should be based upon the results of risk management and within the overall context of enterprise management. For companies with multiple locations, each site’s plans should integrated within the overall enterprise management structure.

2. Incident Command System (ICS) - A standardized management concept designed to enable an integrated response, despite its complexity, response demands, or jurisdictional boundaries. ICS establishes common terminology that allows diverse incident management and support organizations to work together across a wide variety of incident management functions and hazard scenarios.

3. Crisis Management - The coordination of efforts to control a crisis event consistent with strategic goals of an organization. Although generally associated with response, recovery and resumption operations during and following a crisis event, crisis management responsibilities extend to pre-event mitigation, prevention and preparedness, and post event restoration and transition.

4. Incident Management - The management of operations, logistics, planning, finance, administration, safety, and information flow associated with the operational response to the consequences/impacts of a crisis event. Through technology, systems are now available that offer real-time incident management.

5. Incident Response -The tactical reaction to the physical consequences/impacts of a crisis event. Tactical reactions that support the economic viability of a business may include, but not limited to:

  • Protecting personnel and property
  • Situational assessments
  • Situational stabilization
  • Response operations

Corporate Emergency Management and Preparedness

6. Business Continuity - The business specific plans and actions that enable an organization to respond to a crisis event in a manner such that business units, processes, and sub-functions are recovered and resumed according to a predetermined plan. The recovery efforts should be prioritized by critical function to the economic viability of the business.

7.Emergency Response - A response effort by trained emergency personnel from outside theimmediate affected area, or by other designated responders (i.e., mutual aid groups, local fire departments, etc.), to an occurrence which results, or is likely to result, in an uncontrolled release of a hazard or hazardous material, to include any fire, explosion, or serious injury or illness to personnel where there is a potential risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.

8. Social Responsibility - (ISO 26000) Responsibility for the impacts of decisions and activities on society and the environment. Integrated throughout a company, transparent and ethical behavior should:

  • Contribute to sustainable development
  • Contribute to the health and the welfare of society
  • Account for the expectations of stakeholders
  • Comply with laws and consistent with international norms of behavior
9. Workplace Safety - The working environment that encompasses all factors impacting the safety, health, and well-being of employees. This can include environmental hazards, unsafe working conditions or processes, drug and alcohol abuse, and workplace violence. Workplace safety is monitored at the national level by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

10. Initial Responder: The purpose of the initial responder at the operations level is to protect life, property, or the environment from the effects of the release. Ensure all employees are aware of initial responder site-specific actions. It not the responsibility of the initial responder to stop a hazardous release. Employees who may be exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to be Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certified before responding to an incident.

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Tags: Workplace Safety, corporate preparedness

Regulatory Compliance: New OSHA Standard for Confined Space Entry

Posted on Thu, Dec 03, 2015

Confined spaces, such as manholes, crawl spaces, and tanks, are not designed for continuous occupancy and are difficult to exit in the event of an emergency. People working in confined spaces may face life-threatening hazards including potential exposure to toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation.

In May 2015, OSHA issued a final standard, known as Subpart AA of part 1926 of the Code of Federal Regulations, regarding construction workers who work in confined spaces. According to Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, the new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces. “We estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year”, said Perez.

The standard requires employers at construction sites to determine key confined space elements. Key provisions of the final standard require employers to:

  • Determine what kinds of spaces their employees will be in, what hazards could be there, and how those hazards should be made safe
  • Train each employee whose work is regulated by this standard, at no cost to the employee
  • Develop and implement a written confined space program if employees will enter permit spaces
  • Take effective steps to prevent employees from entering those spaces, if employees will not need to enter the permit spaces
  • Provide rescue and emergency services for employees who enter permit spaces, should anything go wrong

The standard applies to all construction workers who may be exposed to confined space hazards, such as those who work in boilers, tanks, storage bins, silos, stacks, vaults, pits, chambers, sewers, manholes, crawl spaces, and many more locations that have cramped spaces and narrow openings. According to OSHA, there are three characteristics of confined spaces:

  • It is big enough for a person to fit his or her entire body
  • It is restrictive for the person entering and exiting
  • The space is not meant for someone to stay in for a long period of time

Confined Space Entry

The new rule provides construction employees with protections similar to general industry standard (29 CFR 1910.146). However, there are several different components tailored to the construction industry. The new Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926, includes:

  • More detailed provisions for coordinating activities with other employers at the site
  • Competent site evaluation in order to identify confined and permit spaces
  • Requirement for continuous atmospheric monitoring, when possible
  • Requirement for continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards
  • Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation
  • Requiring that employers eliminate or isolate any physical hazards before directing employees to enter a space without using a complete permit system
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local entities for emergency services to arrange for those responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the employee understands
OSHA uses the term permit-required confined space (PRCS) to describe a space that has one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress

Construction site employers with PRCS must maintain a program detailing their PRCS
and comply with various safety requirements including, but not limited to:

  • Danger and warning signs that alert workers about the PRCS
  • Permits for safe entry operations, which also feature atmospheric test results
  • Certified documents detailing alternative entry procedures and safety methods for workers in the PRCS
  • A professional engineer’s written approval to ensure that employees know the provisions and limitations of using specifically designed personnel hoisting systems
  • Safety data sheets for workers who are exposed in the PRCS
  • Employee training records to confirm confined space training requirements
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Tags: OSHA, Regulatory Compliance