Luck runs out, but safety is good for life. ~Author Unknown
Whether an industrial facility is domestically located or abroad, ensuring compliance, employee safety, and an effective response requires a comprehensive training and exercise program. All training and exercise components within a corporate enterprise should address site-specific operations, appropriate response processes, standardized company-wide best practices, and maintain location-specific regulatory compliance.
The challenge of managing and ensuring compliant training programs for multiple facilities and various regulatory agencies is complex. Certification efforts, enforcement mandates, and costly non-compliance fines may result from the lack of implemented, thorough, or effective programs. By utilizing available technology to manage an enterprise-wide training approach, companies can verify compliance and response readiness through a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.
Through proper maintenance of a training portal, individuals will remain at peak optimal response capabilities. Training should include, but not be limited to:
- Response plan familiarization
- 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
Mid to large size companies should implement a preparedness and response training management system with the ability to identify and sort specialized data. When a company has multiple facilities, a centralized web-based database of scheduled, lapsed, and completed training enable facility managers to focus their efforts on operations and profitability. With a comprehensive, web-based, database-driven training management system, emergency managers and health, safety, and environmental departments can:
- Simplify training reviews
- Easily identify training inception and expiration dates
- Verify responder knowledge and ensure employee accountability
- Identify regulatory compliance training gaps
- Account for preparedness endeavors and associated costs
- Ease maintenance and administrative efforts
For companies looking to systematically manage the training and development of their staff, an enterprise-wide training management system is critical. Managing several disparate systems and multiple paper files is cumbersome and time consuming. Maintaining training information in a single, consolidated system provides significant benefits. A web-based training management system provides authorized users with secured access from a variety of locations. As facilities are added or modified, operations are revised, or employees are re-assigned, training records can be conveniently added, accessed, transferred, or updated for accuracy and compliance. A comprehensive, web-based training management system will:
- Reduce the need for multiple site training management and documentation
- Minimize administrative costs
- Minimize training discrepancies across an enterprise
- Provide a historical record of training certifications
- Streamline training directives from one source
- Serve as a legal instrument, if necessary
- Engage management in prioritizing preparedness efforts
- Enhance reporting functionality
- Identify regulatory compliance training gaps
Training administration can be time-consuming and difficult, particularly in medium to large companies with staff employed in different roles across a variety of physical locations. A customized training management system can streamline this administrative effort, making it easy to ensure staff members receive the appropriate training, and instructors are supported with the necessary resources. A comprehensive system can
- Track and report training completion or status by discipline, skill, position, individual, location, or over a specific time period
- Generate summary reports that provide a snapshot of various mandated training versus completed and scheduled events
- Print automated certifications and wallet cards
Advanced web-based technologies can also facilitate online training and provide classroom resources. While it is not essential to implementing web-based training, it can reduce costs associated with classroom instruction. Some web-based training solutions include tools to share critical training information and lesson plans with students, reducing the time required to duplicate and distribute training materials across an enterprise.
While optimizing training is critical for regulatory compliance and safety, cost is always a deciding factor. Implementing a customized training management system in highly regulated environments is a proactive, cost-savings measure that can reduce the overall costs associated with incidents, training maintenance, and non-compliance.
Emergency response training simulations are an integral part of a sound emergency management program. Exercises offer training opportunities for responders to strengthen their capacity for responding to various site-specific emergencies. By facilitating different types of drills and exercises, facilities can identify the appropriate methods for preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from crises.
Real world exercise scenarios can often highlight potential deficiencies in response plans, individual comprehension of response roles and responsibilities, and partnership coordination efforts. Deficiencies often reveal mitigation opportunities and valuable response knowledge that can be applied to response plans and an actual emergency response situations.
There are various types of emergency drills and exercises for response training and planning validation. Companies can test response plans with simple orientations and drills, and work their way toward full-scale exercises, inclusive of multiple components and coordinated efforts.
A tabletop exercise is one of the simplest type of comprehensive exercises to conduct in terms of planning, preparation, and coordination. It should facilitate analyses of an emergency situation and the most effective processes to respond and recover. The informal, stress-free environment should be designed to prompt constructive discussions about existing emergency response plans as participants identify, investigate and resolve issues. The success of the exercise is mainly determined by the identification of problem areas, and applying applicable corrections.
These exercises should replicate realistic and site-specific emergency scenarios that allow participants to increase their awareness of roles and responsibilities required to respond, stabilize, terminate, and recover from emergencies. In preparation for these exercises, companies should develop exercise planning documents, including participant's and controller’s packages that contain exercise objectives, scenarios, ground rules, and simulation scripts. These guidelines, at a minimum, should be provided to all participants prior to the exercise to allow for a thorough examination of exercise expectations. A training and exercise management system can streamline and simplify the documentation and administrative duties associated with exercises planning.
The goal of a tabletop 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
- Action item identification
- Operational response capabilities
- Personnel preparedness to respond to incidents, regardless of the threat or hazard
The Department of Homeland Security addresses four types of exercise scenarios used in risk management and emergency planning:
1. Basic Scenario: Provides basic information about one specific variable or risk, such as internal or external hazard, attack type, or potential target. Scenarios can be used to establish response parameters and instructions based on a singular applicable variable (Ex: tank 101 fire or leak at a loading dock).
2. Narrative Scenario: Story-like, highly detailed scenarios with many fixed factors. Narrative drills are typically used for planning purposes rather than risk analysis. Narratives identify characteristics of a scenario, detailed background information, and each components of the scenario.
3. Visual Modeling: Highly structured scenarios that display multiple potential variables of an emergency situation. Depending on the level of detail, visual models can become highly comprehensive and complex. The Department of Homeland Security identifies three methods of visual planning: attack paths, fault trees and event trees.
Attack paths: A systematic method that examines the sequence of events that occurred prior to the incident.
Fault trees: A detailed, deductive tool is used to assess the ill-fated sequence of events that led to the incident. A fault tree highlights potential hazards and ineffective processes.
Event trees: Assess the components it takes to respond and recover from an incident. Event trees highlight the necessary planning initiatives required to counteract the incident.
4. Future Scenario: Speculative narratives that consider how trends, such as social media usage or global warming, will impact future risks. This scenario can to identify “future-state” planning strategies against a range of alternative risk possibilities.
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Enterprise-wide standardization breeds familiarity. Yet, each facility requires customization due to site-specific risks, threats, and emergency response challenges. This continually evolving component of preparedness, response planning, and regulatory compliance complicates the administrative duties associated with maintaining a company’s multiple Emergency Action Plans (EAPs).
Technology, such as a web-based planning system, provides companies with the tools to balance enterprise-wide standardization and site-specific regulatory criteria. Companies responsible for multiple buildings, possibly in various locations, should demonstrate a commitment to emergency management by creating a systematic template for incident response policies, procedures, and practices. Yet, these templates should enable users to incorporate the detailed, site-specific data necessary for an effective response.
While much of the information required in an EAP is site-specific, a template approach ensures regulatory requirements are communicated and pre-approved company protocols are identified. At a minimum, a template for EAPs should include:
- Procedure(s) for reporting a fire or other emergency
- Procedure(s) for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
- Procedure(s) to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
- Procedure(s) to account for all employees after evacuation
- Procedure(s) to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
- Contact Information of company/building/site management
- Alarm system details
The primary goal of an EAP is to protect lives. To establish effective EAPs capable of protecting employees or building occupants, companies should conduct analyses to identify necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.38 regulation. Analyses should identify the following details:
1. Site Analysis
- Identify existing and potential site hazards through employee feedback, audits, and detailed inspections.
2. Task Analysis
- Determine job specific methods and procedures for each employee’s duty to reduce or eliminate associated hazards.
- Review and update methods and procedure when an incident occurs, job responsibilities change, or if hazards are identified through analysis.
3. Risk Analysis
- Establish risk evaluation criteria, probability of incident, and potential consequences.
- Monitor and review procedures for continuous improvement, effectiveness, control measures and changed conditions.
After initial analyses, site-specific EAPs should be developed and shared with building occupants. Depending on the characteristics of the building, and inherent roles and responsibilities of the occupants, an EAP may be a component of a comprehensive emergency response-planning program. This inclusive program may include Facility Response Plans and site-specific Fire Pre Plans. Building emergency response plans should include the following minimum information:
● Building description
● Owner/Manager contact information
● Emergency Assembly Point details
● Internal and/or external emergency personnel information and contact details
● Specific hazard details and possible MSDS information, if applicable
● Utility shut-off locations and descriptions
● Alarm(s) description
● Emergency equipment inventory and locations
● Plot plan(s) and floor plan(s)
● Risk, site and task identified situational checklists and job specific procedures
Emergency management programs, especially those inclusive of multiple buildings, should include health, safety and environmental training to communicate regulatory requirements, site response methods, and other applicable required safety training. EAPs require that companies designate and train employees to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of other employees. Job and site specific training should be implemented for current employees, new hires, or supervisors that may need to carry out direct reports’ responsibilities.
Safety audits, inspections, task analyses, and incident investigations often identify a need for additional training and/or highlight necessary changes that may apply response plans. EAPs must be reviewed when:
- Initial plan is developed
- A new employee is assigned to the EAP
- Employee emergency response role or responsibilities change
- Plan is revised
Challenged with managing preparedness amongst your various facilites? Download TRP's best practices guide on response planning for large organizations with multi-facility operations.
The challenge of managing and ensuring compliant response plans for multiple facilities and multiple regulatory agencies is daunting. When audits reveal planning gaps, unless amended, enforcement mandates and costly non-compliance fines may result from the lack of an implemented, thorough, or effective regulatory compliance programs. By utilizing an enterprise-wide template approach to response plans, companies can satisfy multiple regulatory requirements through a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.
In order for emergency plans to be timely, effective, and compliant, site-specific facility information and operational hazards must be addressed and included in a template plan. Off-the-shelf, generic response plan templates will not address every aspect required of an emergency plan. Utilizing generic templates often results in incomplete, ineffective, and non-regulatory compliant plans.
If templates are connected to a web-based database, site-specific information can be cross-referenced with regulatory requirements. As facilities are added or modified, operations are revised, or employees are re-assigned, each plan can be conveniently accessed and updated for accuracy and compliance.
The use of a consolidated emergency, or all-hazards response plan can be adapted to comply with multiple regulations. Annexed plans, such as fire pre plans or business continuity plans can be created to provide more specific and comprehensive response procedures. With a comprehensive, web-based response plan template, emergency managers can:
- Reduce the need for multiple plans for a single facility
- Minimize administrative costs
- Simplify plan reviews
- Minimize discrepancies across various plans
- Streamline response directives from one source
- More easily identify regulatory compliance gaps
The planning template must incorporate all local, state and federal regulations. The following questions may assist companies in determining site-specific information requirements for developing an emergency plan template.
1. How will the emergency be reported and response initiated?
- Create notification procedures. Emergency notifications may include 911, National Response Center, and internal and/or external response teams
- Identify alarms and how they will be activated. Specific alarm signals may signal employee evacuation or shelter in place. Test alarms to confirm they are in proper working condition
- Ensure employees are trained in immediate response actions, as described in plan
- Identify emergency classification levels to ensure appropriate response actions and resources
2. Who will be in charge of the Incident and who will conduct additional response duties?
- Create Emergency Management Team organizational chart and activation procedures
- Create Emergency Management Team roles and responsibilities checklists
3. What threats affect the facility or employees?
- Perform a detailed hazard and risk analysis
- Create response procedures for each identified threat
- Create a process for incident documentation
- Utilize appropriate ICS Form(s)
4. What incidents or classification level require evacuation/shelter in place
- Create multiple evacuation routes
- Determine criteria as to whether evacuation goes beyond facility borders
- Identify the muster point(s) and head count procedures
5. How are response actions sustained?
- Identify command post locations and equipment requirements
- Identify response resources and equipment (both internal and external)
- Create communications checklist and identify communications equipment available
- Identify hazard control applicability and methods
- Detail external communications and public relations policies
6. What is done after the incident is secured?
- Create checklist for demobilization guidelines
- Perform a post-incident review and debriefing
- Identify “lessons learned”, assign action items, and update response plan accordingly
In 1996, the National Response Team published the Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) Guidance in an effort to provide companies with the means to comply with multiple federal planning requirements required by various regulatory agencies. The ICP, based on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS), was intended to be used by companies to prepare emergency response plans for responding to releases of oil and non-radiological hazardous substances.
An industrial facility may use an ICP to incorporate one or more of the following applicable federal regulations:
- Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation (SPCC and Facility Response Plan Requirements), 40 CFR part 112.7(d) and 112.20-.21
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Contingency Planning Requirements, 40 CFR part 264, Subpart D, 40 CFR part 265, Subpart D, and 40 CFR 279.52.
- Risk Management Programs Regulation, 40 CFR part 68
Department of the Interior:
- Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Facility Response Plan Regulation, 30 CFR part 254
Department of Transportation/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:
- PHMSA Pipeline Response Plan Regulation, 49 CFR part194
- U.S. Coast Guard, Facility Response Plan Regulation, 33 CFR part 154, part F
Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Emergency Action Plan Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.38(a)
- OSHA's Process Safety Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119
- OSHA's HAZWOPER Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120
Facilities may also be subject to state emergency response planning requirements that are not included in the National Response Team ICP Guidance. Facilities are encouraged to coordinate development of their own ICP with relevant state and local agencies to ensure compliance with any additional regulatory requirements.
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“Statistics suggest that every dollar invested in disaster preparedness yields savings of $4–$11 in disaster response, relief, and recovery.” The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Preparedness is directly tied to issues that can adversely affect profitability. Instituting, upgrading, and/or maintaining a proactive preparedness program may be seen as a superfluous expenditure. However, when companies can deliberately protect lives, prevent hazardous environmental impacts, limit property damage, and eliminate regulatory fines, prioritizing an EHS program becomes an investment in the sustainability of a company.
OSHA recently revealed its Top Ten most frequently cited standards for the 2013 fiscal year (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013). The list incorporates worksite inspection findings of Federal OSHA inspectors from across the country. Ideally, companies should utilize this list to conduct assessments, identify potential site-specific compliance lapses, and mitigate these highly recognized hazards. In a press release, OSHA stated, “Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.” The Top Ten most frequently cited standards include:
- 1926.501 - Fall Protection
- 1910.1200 - Hazard Communication
- 1926.451 - Scaffolding
- 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection
- 1910.305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods
- 1910.178 - Powered Industrial Trucks
- 1926.1053 - Ladders
- 1910.147 - Lockout/Tagout
- 1910.303 - Electrical, General Requirements
- 1910.212 - Machine Guarding
The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 668 workers in 2012, down slightly from 2011. In 2012, the height of the fall was reported in 437 of the fatal falls to a lower level. Of those cases, about one in four occurred after a fall of 10 feet or less. Another one-fourth of the fatal fall cases occurred from falls of over 30 feet. Companies should utilize this information to evaluate their site-specific safety measures. By analyzing current safety elements, processes, and procedures, companies can potentially mitigate inefficiencies and substandard compliant operations.
A cost-benefit analysis of an emergency management program can highlight the potential cost savings of an effective program. Prevention, mitigation, and planning costs should be compared with the financial impact of situational recovery processes and the overall costs of an incident. These costs may include, but are not limited to:
- Human life
- Short term or long term business interruption
- Infrastructure damage
- Equipment failure
- Inventory/stock losses
- Environmental destruction
Additionally, companies must ensure that their facilities are compliant with OSHA requirements to develop written Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Fire Prevention Plans. The requirement is based on the number of employees that are physically in a facility at any time of the working day. The regulation states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written EAP. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An EAP must communicate the following minimum requirements:
- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(2))
- Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(3))
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
- Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(5))
- Means of reporting fires or other emergencies (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(1))
- The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan. (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(6))
The increasing number of stringent regulatory compliance standards compounds the complexity of industrial operations. Many companies believe they have the compliance component of their business under control. Others take a reactionary role rather than a proactive approach. Without a proactive approach, incidents affecting the financial bottom line of companies, their communities, and surrounding environments will continue.
Every month, audits and enforcement mandates are issued from various federal and state agencies that oversee industrial facilities. Agencies such as OSHA, EPA, and DOT’s PHMSA inspect and fine offending companies for non-compliance for a variety of infractions. Costly non-compliance fines continually result from the lack of an implemented, thorough, or effective preparedness planning and regulatory compliance programs.
Associated penalties are continually increasing. In April of 2013, the PHMSA issued a ruling that incorporated new civil penalties. The ruling included:
- Increasing the maximum fine possible from $55,000 to $75,000, for knowingly violating the law
- Revising the maximum penalty from $110,000 to $175,000, for knowingly violating the law in a way that results in “death, serious illness, or severe injury” to a person, or which causes substantial destruction of property
- Eliminating the minimum civil penalty amount, since most fines are well over the previous set minimum of $250. However, a minimum penalty will be retained for training violations, now to be set at $450.
Below is a sampling of the price of non-compliance. The list is comprised of a wide array of companies from various regulatory agencies (dates are by citation, not occurrence).
EPA: A cold storage and ice manufacturing company was ordered to pay penalties of $225,000 for violating federal Clean Air Act requirements meant to prevent chemical releases. The company failed to implement the required Risk Management Plan relating to the use of ammonia at a number of its facilities.
OSHA: A railway company was ordered to pay $1,121,099 for violating the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act.
EPA and Hawaii State Department of Health: A ship repair and dry dock facility on Oahu was fined $710,000 in civil penalties for water pollution control violations. This was the largest Clean Water Act civil penalty against a ship repair facility nationwide.
PHMSA: A compliance order and civil penalty of $104,800 was assessed to a pipeline holding company for failure to comply with pipeline safety regulations. The violations pertained to inadequate firefighting equipment and improper inspection and testing record keeping.
PHMSA: After a two-year investigation, a fine of $1.7million was proposed as a result of failing to implement measures to address known seasonal flooding risks to a pipeline system. Additionally, the company failed to establish written procedures to protect the pipeline from floods and other natural disasters, which would have minimized the volume of oil released.
OSHA: A company that manufactures wood shavings for animal bedding was assessed $233,870 in proposed fines. Violations included 28 repeat and serious violations of the workplace safety and health standards.
PHMSA: Proposed and collected a civil fine of $235,600 with a pipeline company that neglected to implement response plans, emergency shutdown processes, and inspections regarding the facility compressor station.
OSHA: An Ohio steel manufacturing plant’s compliance 24 violations added up to fines totaling $1,138,500. Fifteen of the non-compliance aspects included willful violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards
EPA: A refinery’s parent company was issued a $8.75 million penalty for failing to comply with a 2007 settlement that resolved violations of the Clean Air Act. Between 2007 and 2011, the company violated numerous requirements of the initial settlement, including failing to comply with emissions limits. The company also failed to perform corrective actions or to analyze the cause of over 70 incidents involving emissions of hazardous gases through flaring.
PHMSA: A pipeline company was assessed a $20,000 fine for failing to present written documentation of public awareness (as recommended by the American Petroleum Institute), and failing to providing baseline material to emergency responders or excavators.
OSHA: An Arkansas-based meat processor was issued a total of $121,720 in proposed fines for violations at various sites. The inspection, which began on May 15, 2013, was conducted under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. OSHA found a cross section of mechanical, electrical and fall hazards, as well as several deficiencies in the process safety management program. The hazards include failing to guard skylights and roof hatchway, guard a press, provide safety-related work practices to prevent electric shock and arc flash burns, and provide workers with protective equipment when using energized equipment.
EPA: A paint manufacturer was penalized $153,917 for violating federal hazardous waste laws. Violations included failure to properly identify hazardous wastes, failure to properly label and store hazardous waste containers, and failure to train personnel who manage hazardous waste.
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In early January, a chemical leak from a Freedom Industries storage facility caused West Virginia American Water to shut off the water supply to nearly 300,000 people. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection identified five violations which will likely result in substantial fines. In addition, criminal penalties may be pursued.
As demonstrated month after month, compliance is a requirement, not an option. Some argue that the bureaucracy is riddled with inefficiencies. However, the “rules” are aimed to protect communities and the surrounding environment. According to David Hall’s Wall Street Journal article, The Morning Ledger: Companies Beef Up Compliance Departments, “Hefty fines and other penalties have jolted companies, especially banks, into a compliance hiring spree, as governments at home and abroad tighten business laws and regulations and ramp up their enforcement activity.” Compliance costs are typically lower than the expenditures associated with non-compliance fines, litigation, reputational risk, and government mandated shutdown of operations. Companies must implement a budget that ensures regulatory compliance.
Managing regulatory compliance for industrial facilities can be a daunting task. Industrial facilities must operate profitably; yet comply with a complex array of federal, state and local regulations. The consequences of disregarding the various required elements can be corporate self-destruction.
Key concepts for managing regulatory compliance from a corporate perspective include, but are not limited to:
Technology is a useful, and relatively inexpensive tool that enables companies to monitor continually evolving regulatory requirements. In recent history, companies have utilized Excel spreadsheets to manage requirements. However, as a company expands or new regulations are implemented, spreadsheets can become overwhelming, ineffective, and time consuming. Larger operations should consider utilizing database technology to ensure that compliance can be effectively managed on an enterprise-wide level. Utilizing a database limits the duplication of tasks generated when multiple agencies have regulations that are related to the same subject matter.
Internal resources or outsourced compliance expertise can enable a company to leverage regulatory knowledge enterprise-wide. In order to focus on core business components and reduce managerial and administration efforts required to manage compliance, companies can examine utilizing consultants to ensure appropriate response planning and compliance measures.
A company must recognize mandatory submission requirements and tasks for each facility associated with each regulatory requirement. The implementation of a tracking management system that can eliminate redundancies across converging compliance requirements is extremely beneficial for organizations that have multiple applicable regulatory requirements.
A methodological tracking system should itemize applicable federal, state, and local regulations, and include categorical information that satisfies that regulation. A 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: Apply best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
- Cross-reference: Itemize list of additional regulations that may be applicable to the information provided.
- 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.
- Search Functionality - Create the ability to search database for key words and phrases associated with regulations.
One of the most important aspects of maintaining compliance is ensuring that required response plan and associated revisions are submitted to the proper regulatory agencies in a timely manner. The various agencies have different submission requirements regarding initial and plan revision compliance.
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OSHA provides a wide range of general industry regulations. The following OSHA requirements are aimed at supporting Emergency Response and Preparedness measures. These site-specific OSHA requirements include the following: (NOTE: Site-specific operations may require additional compliance measures per industry regulations.
1. Personal Protective Equipment (General requirements)
- 29 CFR 1910.132: Personal protective equipment (PPE), including PPEs for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.
- 29 CFR 1910.132(d)(2): The employer shall verify that the required workplace hazard assessment has been performed through a written certification that identifies the workplace evaluated; the person certifying that the evaluation has been performed; the date(s) of the hazard assessment; and, which identifies the document as a certification of hazard assessment.
- 29 CFR 1910.132(h): PPEs should be provided by the employer at no cost to employees in order to provide basic protection covered under 29 CFR 1910.132. However, the employer is not required to purchase certain non-specialty items if the item can be worn off the job site. Those items include, but are not limited to:
- Non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots)
- Non-specialty prescription safety eyewear
- Everyday clothing, such as long-sleeve shirts, long pants, street shoes, and normal work boots
- Ordinary clothing, skin creams, or other items used solely for protection from weather, such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary sunglasses, and sunscreen
2. Respiratory Protection
- 29 CFR 1910.134: The primary objective is to mitigate occupational diseases caused by breathing contaminated air by preventing atmospheric contamination and respiratory protection. Respiratory protection shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials) or through respirator distribution.
- 1910.134(c)(1): In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer, the employer shall establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures. The program shall be updated as necessary to reflect those changes in workplace conditions that affect respirator use.
3. Air Contaminants
- 29 CFR 1910.1000: An employee's exposure to any substance in 1910.1000 Table Z-1 shall at no time exceed the exposure limit given for that substance. If instantaneous monitoring is not feasible, then the ceiling limit shall be assessed as a 15-minute time weighted average exposure, which shall not be exceeded at any time over a working day.
- 29 CFR 1910.119: This regulation focuses on preventing or minimizing consequences from a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. Processes are covered by this standard when they involve quantities of highly hazardous chemicals equal to or greater than those listed in Appendix A, they involve flammable liquid or gas quantities greater than 10,000 pounds, or they involve the manufacture of explosives or pyrotechnics.
4. Bloodborne Pathogens
- 29 CFR 1910.1030: An employer having an employee(s) with reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or potential contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties shall establish a written Exposure Control Plan designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.
5. Hazard Communication
- 29 CFR 1910.1200: This OSHA standard aligns with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and ensures that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are classified. It is required that information concerning the classified hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. For more information on the Hazard Communication Standard, see Phased Compliance of the Hazard Communication Standard Begins Dec 2013.
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America’s largest retail store was recently fined $81 million for improper handling of hazardous wastes and pesticides. The chain did not have a store level safety program in place to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices. As a result, hazardous wastes were transported without proper documentation or improperly discarded, including being put into municipal trash bins or poured into the local sewer system.
From manufacturing facilities to store fronts, hazardous substances can be found in an array of company locations. Facility safety training should incorporate processes and procedures applicable to hazardous material interactions and disposal. Unless handled by training individuals and disposed of properly, hazardous material can create health risks for people and damage the environment.
If a site houses hazardous material, HAZWOPER training may be necessary. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain -Online Training.
There are various Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) training levels of HAZWOPER that are commensurate with the type of work and the potential involvement with hazardous materials. The following two levels of HAZWOPER training apply to employees that will not assume the aggressive role of attempting to plug, patch, or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance.
According to OSHA, the first responders at the “awareness level” must demonstrate competency in areas such as recognizing the presence of hazardous materials in an emergency, the risks involved, and the role they play in their employer’s plan.
This level is applicable for persons who, in the course of their normal duties, could be the first on the scene of an emergency involving hazardous materials. Responders at the awareness level are expected to recognize the presence of hazardous materials, protect themselves, call for trained personnel, and secure the area without engagement.
Individual companies can set their own hourly training requirements, however, employees must be capable of demonstrating the following:
- Understanding what a hazardous substance is, and associated risks
- Understanding potential outcomes associated with an emergency involving hazardous substances
- Ability to recognize the presence of hazardous substances during an emergency
- Ability to identify the hazardous substances, if possible
- Understanding the role of the first responder awareness individual in the employer's emergency response plan, including site security and control and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Emergency Response Guidebook
- Ability to recognize the need to make appropriate notifications for additional resources
Operations level responders meet and exceed the competency level of the awareness responder. Operational responders are trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to terminate the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures.
These trained responders are part of the initial response to the incident for the purpose of protecting nearby persons, the environment, and/or property from the effects of the release. Operations may receive additional training in HAZMAT/CBRNE defensive techniques of absorption, damming and diking, diverting, retention, vapor dispersion and suppression. They may also train in basic decontamination procedures and PPE.
First responders at the operational level should complete the 8-hour HAZWOPER training course or sufficient experience to objectively demonstrate competency in the following areas:
- Basic hazard and risk assessment techniques
- Selection and use of proper personal protective equipment provided to the first responder operational level
- Basic hazardous materials terms
- Basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of available resources and personal protective equipment
- Implementation of basic decontamination procedures
- Relevant standard operating and termination procedures
A recently released study entitled Staging and Performing Emergencies: The Role of Exercises in UK Preparedness states that comprehensive exercises are essential for an effective response to various types of emergencies. Just as incidents vary in scale, duration, and complexity, training and response exercises need to be inclusive of site specific threats and risks. Authors Dr Ben Anderson and Dr Peter Adey of the report told Science Omega magazine that there are three core reasons why exercises are beneficial and increase the likelihood of an effective response.
- Collaboration Rehearsal: Exercises enable separate organizations to collaborate in a real-world simulation of an incident. Organizations that operate separately on a day-to-day basis must collaborate on procedures that would be necessary in an actual emergency. Dr. Anderson states, “Exercises allow organizations the opportunity to work together, both formally, in terms of enabling various protocols or communication procedures to be used, and informally, in terms of getting to know the organizational culture of other bodies”.
- Test strategies and plans: Exercises allow the various strategic response components to be tested. Through real-world exercise scenarios, companies can evaluate procedures and plans before the real event.
- Confirm roles and responsibilities: Exercises reveal response competencies. Employees and responders must have a thorough understanding of required roles and responsibilities in order to react effectively, make timely decisions, and perform appropriate actions within high-pressure emergency situations.
Response plan exercises may incorporate on-site operational responders. The typical staffed operational responder is trained for defensive reactions, not to terminate the release. Their main function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading and prevent exposures. The ability to terminate a release may require a higher level of training.
A response effort by trained emergency personnel or other designated responders (i.e., fire brigade, mutual aid groups, local fire departments), would then go into effect. An event that requires outside emergency assistance can be, but is not limited to, an uncontrolled release of a hazardous material, fire, explosion, and serious injury or illness to personnel where there is a potential risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.
If a facility has hazardous material on-site, HAZWOPER training may be necessary. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain HAZWOPER training.
OHSA mandates that individuals who work in the following areas must complete the standard HAZWOPER training.
- General site workers: Individuals, such as equipment operators, general laborers and supervisory personnel, who are engaged in hazardous substance removal or other activities which expose or potentially expose workers to hazardous substances and health.
- Operations crew: Individuals involved in hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA; or by agencies under agreement with U.S.E.P.A. to implement RCRA regulations.
- Emergency response operations team: Those directly involved in responding to the releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.
There are various training levels with HAZWOPER. Training levels should reflect the type of work and the potential hazard involved in the work.
- 40-hour HAZWOPER Training: Those individuals directly involved in the cleaning up of hazardous materials, its storage, or its transportation should take the 40-hour HAZWOPER course. The 40 hour course is required for the safety of workers at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
- 24-hour HAZWOPER Training: Appropriate training for those who are less directly involved with uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (such as, but not limited to, ground water monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying).
- 8-hour HAZWOPER Training: Managers are required to attain the same level of training (either the 40-hour or 24-hour training) as those they supervise, and an additional 8 hours.
There are numerous sources for OSHA-based HAZWOPER training, from community colleges to private consultants. However, companies must insure that the trainer teaches the required material and provides certification to the students. The certification is assigned to the employee, not the employer. Because of this, individuals must receive the full training mandated, not just those areas that are covered at the current work site.
For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.