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Expert Tips on Addressing Corporate EOP Challenges?

Posted on Thu, Sep 29, 2016

One of the most important, yet challenging, aspects of maintaining up-to-date and compliant emergency operations plans (EOPs) is to initiate updates in a timely manner. These challenges are often intensified by changes in organizational structures. Corporate downsizing, mergers, acquisitions or reorganizations in additional to typical employee turnover can render required EOPs inaccurate, obsolete, and non-compliant. As corporate frameworks expand and contract, processes must in place to verify EOP details for each location and certify site-specific regulatory compliance.

Company-Wide EOP Audit

Cyclical EOP audits enable continuous reviews and potential revision opportunities. But as company facilities, operations, equipment, and employees change, it is critical that each site’s EOP be audited by EHS department or plan administrator(s) to determine potential discrepancies, format disparities, and regulatory deficiencies. The following preparedness concepts and EOP particulars should be reviewed for each company facility for the accuracy and effectiveness:

  • Safety and health procedures
  • Evacuation plan
  • Fire protection plan
  • Environmental policies
  • Security procedures
  • Supply chain purchasing and response procedures
  • Closing and communication policy
  • Employee manuals
  • Hazardous materials plan, if applicable
  • Business Continuity plan
  • Risk management plan
  • Hurricane/Tornado/Flood Plans
  • Mutual aid agreements

If discrepancies and deficiencies are identified, adjustments must be incorporated to ensure compliance, efficiency, and effectiveness. If multiple updates are needed, it is beneficial to utilize a web-based, database driven planning system that can eliminate duplication of tasks and planning responsibilities, minimizing costs of dedicated administrative hours.

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Review Historical EOP Oversights

Typical EOP errors include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Personnel listed in response plans are no longer employed with the company or at specific facility
  • Emergency response duties and responsibilities are not assigned to appropriate personnel
  • Inaccurate contact information for company personnel and external resources
  • Lack of detailed hazardous material spill response procedures
  • Lack of site-specific fire pre-plans
  • Training deficiencies
  • Inefficient documentation
  • Inconsistencies or missing information required for current local, state and/or federal regulations
  • Differing plan formats and versions resulting in varied information and disjointed composition
  • No efficient process for implementing lessons learned, changes in policies, or regulatory requirements

 

Initiate Safety and Response Best Practices

When specific site, operational, response, or regulatory components change, facilities need to confirm that best practices apply to their site-specific situation. Deliberating on and implementing applicable best practices and lessons learned can positively impact company preparedness and response readiness. While companies may not need to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to safety and response procedures, each facet of a company’s operations should be broken down to examine specific best practices for a particular action, material, scenario, and/or site circumstance.  For example, safety and response best practices exist in the following areas:

  • Pre-incident planning
  • PPE and response equipment
  • Security
  • Fire brigades
  • Rescue
  • Hazardous materials handling/response
  • Fire planning and prevention
  • Shelter-in-place and evacuation
  • Training
  • Exercises

Incorporating site-specific and current human resource information into a plan allows for the plan to go from stagnant process and procedures, to an actionable response. Accurate internal and external contact information must be verified and documented in order for assigned response roles and responsibilities to be carried out.

 

Streamline Emergency Communications

The ability to communicate among internal and external responders, as well as adopting the Incident Command System (ICS) is an important element. ICS provides “structure across multi-jurisdictional or multi agency incident management activities to enable agencies with different legal, jurisdictional, and functional responsibilities to coordinate, plan, and interact effectively on scene.” This open communication can increase the potential that enterprise-wide EOP response procedures are carried out in accordance with best practices and company protocols. When company components and/or organizational structures change, collaborative planning and exercise efforts can often validate participants’ positions, align priorities and common interests, and motivate participants to seek compromise for the good of corporate preparedness and effective response.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Preparedness, corporate preparedness