Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Risk Mitigation and Corporate Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Aug 24, 2017

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” - Sir Issac Newton

In an industrial facility, every action has the ability to become an emergency, incident or disaster. Most “actions” are intended to contribute to the financial bottom line, but others may put your employees, the facility or surrounding environments at risk. These actions can create unsafe conditions, operational risks, or environmental damage. Once recognized and evaluated, these hazards, threats and risks may be eliminated or controlled through mitigation measures and procedural planning.

The Corporate Risk Assessment

In order to identify necessary responses to incidents or emergency situations, a detailed risk assessment should be should conducted for potential emergency scenarios.  As risk assessment may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Identify your site-specific hazards, threats or risks. These may include, but are not limited to:
    • Fire
    • Explosion
    • Natural Hazards
    • Terrorism
    • Hazardous materials spill or release
    • Workplace violence
    • Employee pandemic
    • Utility outage
    • Mechanical breakdown
    • Supply chain failure
    • Cyber attack
  • Based on the hazards, identify if the impact is low, medium or high for each of the following:
    • People
    • Property
    • Operations
    • Environment
    • Financial
    • Regulatory or legal
    • Contractual
    • Reputation
  • Identify your site-specific hazards and consider:
    • High probability/low impact scenarios
    • Low probability/high impact scenarios

The probability and impact severity of a risk should determine the priority level for planning and mitigating the hazard.

Minimize Impacts through Mitigation

Current processes, procedures, and assets can directly minimize the impact or likelihood of unsafe actions or circumstances. These may be unique to each specific industry, company, and site. Some processes, procedures, or assets may simplify or automate reactions, responses or recovery requirements.

It is important to understand that a single asset may be able to mitigate multiple hazards. Examples of assets include, but are not limited to;

  • Local response groups
  • On-site fire brigades
  • Backup generators
  • Response equipment
  • Routine data backups

Continuous Improvement on the Mechanism of Metal Gears..jpeg

As you assess potential impacts, identify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in your current processes, procedures, and assets that would make them susceptible to loss. When these vulnerabilities are identified, it presents opportunities for hazard prevention through procedures/processes upgrades or risk mitigation.

Your company should review or initiate a risk mitigation budget based on the results of the risk analysis. The probability and impact severity should determine the priority level for correcting the hazard. The higher the probability and impact severity, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective action. With priorities in place, mitigation measures may include:

  • Changing operational processes and procedures
  • Eliminating the cause of a potential threat
  • Addressing regulatory compliance issues resulting from internal or external audits
  • Introducing risk reducing engineering controls, when applicable
  • Implementing proactive administrative controls or work place practices
  • Establishing systematic equipment inspection processes
  • Developing a communication plan that includes a contact verification system
  • Updating or develop applicable response plans

Business Continuity Plans

Business continuity and response plans should address the results from a site-specific risk assessment. When companies utilize systematic methods to identify objectives and implement potential response in conjunction with intuitive formats, the process of recovery, continuity, and sustainability can be streamlined.

At a minimum, a business continuity plans should identify the following:

  • Key operations and critical activities
  • Critical processes and strategies for recovery
  • Resources necessary for recovery
  • Evacuation and relocation information and policies
  • Key response personnel

 

Need information regarding crisis and emergency management industry standards and best practices, click the image below to submit form information: 

Corporate Crisis Management

Tags: Business Risk, Mitigation, corporate preparedness

Are Emergency Action Plans Enough for Company-Wide Preparedness?

Posted on Thu, Apr 20, 2017

For most companies, a visit from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector in 2017 can be a stressful scenario. Until recently, non-compliance fines were minimal for non-serious violations. But that changed in 2016 when Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which required federal agencies, including OSHA, to adjust their civil money penalties based on inflation. 

Companies should no longer equate violations and penalties to the cost of doing business. A lack of response planning or preparedness can be detrimental in numerous ways. Any potentially escalating health, safety or environmental incident or business disruption can result in, but is not limited to:

  • Compromised employee safety and productivity
  • Lost revenues and business opportunities
  • Contractual-based penalties
  • Damaged reputation
  • Regulatory fines

 

OSHA Penalties

Until 2016, OSHA penalties and fines haven't increased in over 25 years. With an elevated focus on preparedness, companies should evaluate the potential impact of these costs compared to the establishment or improvement of safety programs.

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The Emergency Action Plan

Emergency Action Plans or Emergency Response Plans are not only required for most companies, but are essential to the well-being of employees. The Emergency Action Plan regulation (29 CFR 1910.38), states that employers with 11 or more employees must  have to create a written emergency action plan. Even for locations with ten or fewer employees, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An emergency action plan must communicate the following minimum requirements: 

  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures, including exit route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • 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.

At a minimum, companies should be prepared in the event the unexpected occurs. But for companies with more than 10 employees, especially those with multiple locations, the basic emergency action plan may not be enough to ensure preparedness or compliance.

Response plan regulations are often specific to operational hazards, inherent threats, or incident-specific response needs. Companies should not limit response planning to simple fire emergencies, but consider an all-hazard, inclusive approach in preparedness.

Most incidents are short-lived and can be brought under control rather quickly when prepared planning is prioritized. Responses to these incidents are typically tactical in nature.

 

Response Planning and Preparedness

More serious incidents may require specialized response teams or assistance from outside entities, such as local fire, police or agencies. The emergency response plan or emergency operations plan should be inclusive of multiple possibilities and address the time period immediately after the incident. This level of preparedness prompts a rapid return of critical operations.

Preparedness planning should cover three objectives:

  • Maintain existing emergency management readiness capabilities
  • Prevent emergency management capabilities from becoming part of the emergency
  • Augment emergency management capabilities with internal and external response resources

Preparedness plans should address capabilities needed for prevention, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. These plans should include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Facility Information
  2. Hazard analysis
  3. Response checklists
  4. Required notifications
  5. Response team organization, activation procedures, and roles
  6. Identification of training requirements based on roles
  7. Guidelines for developing, conducting, and evaluating exercises
  8. Ongoing plan review and evaluation process

As agencies continue to redefine their monetary penalties, companies must not rely on the prospect of an inspection to ensure preparedness programs are sufficient. Regulatory deficiencies are most likely shared with others within the same industry, therefore, companies may identify potential solutions by researching best practices. Often, the expertise and knowledge that drove the regulation into existence stems from the problems and experiences of others, and their efforts to address the inherent problem(s).

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Emergency Action Plan, corporate preparedness

911 Outages - Wake-Up Call for Corporate Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Apr 06, 2017

On two instances in early March, AT&T users in several states were unable to call 911, the most common emergency contact number. According the Federal Communications Commissions’ Public Safety and Homeland Security acting Bureau Chief, Lisa Fowlkes, a preliminary investigation revealed that over 12,000 callers could not reach 911 operators during the outage.  But this is not the first time a 911 outage has occurred.  On April 9, 2014, a 911-call routing facility in Colorado stopped routing calls to eighty-one 911 centers.  According to the 2014 FCC investigation, over 6,600 calls were never connected to emergency operators during that incident.

The 2014 FCC report revealed that the Colorado outage was not an isolated incident or an act of human nature. Ongoing upgrades to the 911 system have resulted in conflicts between newer and older software code. While the investigation continues into the March 2017 outage, it highlights the importance of alternate emergency contact information in emergency response plans.

With this most recent investigation, the FCC prompts the question; “What plans do public safety entities have in place for public notification during 911 outages, including the provision of alternative emergency contact information, and how effective were alternatives.” C-level executives, facility managers and EHS staff should be asking the same questions.

  • What plans does your company have in place for public notification during 911 outages?
  • Do your response plans include alternative emergency contact information?
  • How effective are these alternatives in responding to your needs?

During the initial planning stage and consequential emergency planning reviews, facilities need to assess the impact of the potential emergencies, determine the need for backup or external resources, and confirm contact information. Companies must have adequate resources to effectively address emergency situations. It is critical to identify and include appropriate contact information and backup communication methods in response plans. 

The execution of a solid communication plan should begin in the planning phase, not on the verge of, during, or in the aftermath of a disaster.  All response plans should provide contact information to ensure the response team members, external resources, and stakeholders have the information needed to make educated decisions. Through pre-planning, a communication plan can be fully integrated into the overall response plan. Unfortunately, confirmation of internal and external communication tends to neglected. It is essential that contact numbers are routinely checked and updated in response plans.

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Time is critical during an emergency. An effective response can be compromised if response plans contain wrong or out of service phone numbers. If using an automated call out system, important information may not be received if numbers or e-mails have changed. A scheduled verification system should be put in place to solidify the accuracy of any applicable means of communication (ex: e-mail addresses, cell phone numbers and landlines).

Communication pre-planning should also include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Notification and Activation methods: Meet with employees and responders to discuss notification and activation methods. Do not assume that responders identify with company communication policies or context of emergencies communications. Through communication, employees can comprehend the safety measures necessary to limit exposures and prevent unnecessary harm.
  2. Contact Verifications: Primary and secondary contact information should be verified for personnel, responsible agencies, and contracted responders. Verification should be conducted on a periodic basis in order to maintain accurate and applicable information.
  3. Strategic Considerations: Establish a strategic framework with checklists and response criteria that will guide the communications decision-making process to allow for an effective response.
  4. Stabilization: Effective communications is the bridge to stabilizing a crisis situation. The stabilization phase may include media/public relations. In this 24/7 information age, a communications plan should include informational jurisdiction decisions about what to release, by whom, and when. Information MUST be accurate and timely in order to diffuse rumors.
  5. Recovery: The lines of communications need to remain open to return to a “business as usual” level. In order for a full recovery, communication should include:
  • Accurate damage assessment reports
  • Response personnel reports
  • Demobilization techniques
  • Employee reentry procedures
  • Lessons learned debriefings

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Communication Plan, corporate preparedness

Don't Be an OSHA Statistic: Preparedness & Facility Response Plan Tips

Posted on Thu, Mar 09, 2017

Every day across the United States, employees go to work expecting a typical day on the job.  Yet OSHA’s Reports of Fatalities and Incidents for Fiscal Year 2016 reveals that one or more work-related fatalities and incidents occurs daily. While some jobs are more hazardous than others, the detailed summary indicated 1,080 OSHA reported instances in 2016. How many more incidents go unreported?   Not only do emergencies and incidents happen, they happen every day - highlighting the importance of preparedness and response planning.

 

"It Won’t Happen Here"

When incidents occur, urgent and rapid decision making combined with a lack of resources and untrained personnel can lead to chaos and exacerbate the emergency. Response plans can minimize the chaos with pre-identified processes. To establish effective response plans capable of protecting employees and building occupants, companies should conduct analyses to identify necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required for regulatory compliance. Analyses should identify the following details:

  1. Site Analysis
  • Identify existing and potential site hazards through employee feedback, audits, and detailed inspections.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Besides the major benefit of providing guidance during an emergency, the preparedness process and analyses have other advantages. You may discover:

  • Unrecognized hazardous conditions that would aggravate an emergency situation
  • Deficiencies, such as the lack of resources (equipment, trained personnel, supplies)
  • Mitigation opportunities that can rectified incidents before an emergency occurs.

 

The Response Plan

Comprehensive, compliant, and functional response plans should be created to address a broad scope of planned responses for a variety of probable emergency and crisis situations. However, if a facility has a high-risk potential for a specific scenario, supplemental response plans can be added to the overall emergency management program. Inclusive programs may include a variety of plans including Facility Response Plans, Fire Pre-Plans, and Incident Response Plans, etc.  Response plans should include the following minimum information:

  • Building description
  • Plot plan(s) and floor plan(s)
  • Owner/Manager contact information
  • Emergency equipment inventory and locations
  • Evacuation routes
  • Emergency Assembly Point details
  • Internal and/or external emergency personnel information and contact details
  • Specific hazard details and possible safety data sheet information, if applicable
  • Utility shut-off locations and descriptions
  • Alarm(s) description
  • Policies and processes situational checklists
  • Job specific procedures

Industry factory in kawasaki at night.jpeg

A Plan for Every Site

An enterprise-wide response planning system can provide the framework required to ensure every facility under the corporate umbrella is compliant and prepared for the unexpected. An enterprise-wide system can remove many of the challenges associated with managing multiple response plans, streamline the update process, and simplify plan reviews, ensuring a consistent path toward compliance and readiness.

An enterprise-wide response planning system should:

  • Support the ability to execute company-approved response strategies across multiple locations/facilities
  • Easily incorporate company growth and facility acquisitions
  • Enable site-specific details while not compromising company directives
  • Facilitate the ability to update corporate planning elements across locations, sites, geographies, without compromising site-specific details and response challenges
  • Be easily updated with minimal dedicated staff
  • Become an easily accessible, yet secured, shared tool for internal and external responders
  • Allow for streamlined regulatory compliance audits
  • Automate and optimizes response planning training and exercise activities
  • Reduce non-compliance issues on a company-wide scale
  • Automate regulatory governance with electronic submissions

 

Don’t be a Statistic 

With the revelation of the OSHA statistics, companies should ensure safety and preparedness is at the forefront of operations. Whether a company has one site or multiple facilities across the globe, response plans promote safety awareness and may help minimize the chance that of one of you employees becomes an OSHA statistic.

 

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: OSHA, Facility Response Plan, Response Plans, corporate preparedness

Top TRP Corporate Preparedness Blogs of 2016

Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2016

As 2016 dwindles and our readers anticipate the New Year, TRP is looking forward to its 22nd year of innovation and service.  In addition to providing resourceful, informative articles that guide professionals in developing effective, compliant, cohesive, and world-class response plans, our response planning experts and in-house software development staff continue to introduce evolutionary technological improvements, upgrades, and state-of-the-art response planning tools and services.

Yet, before we move on to 2017, TRP would like to share our “Top Ten” blogs from 2016.  While the topics vary, 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 2017. 

Our “Top Ten” 2016 blog articles include:

10) The Evolution of Response Planning - The TRP Story: (July 14, 2016) TRP President, Steve Bassine, discusses TRP's origins, its evolution, and the company’s response to the changing demands of corporate preparedness, response planning, and regulatory compliance.

9) 3 Critical Pre-Planning Elements for Effective Crisis Management Plans: (September 1, 2016) The modern pathways of communication are so quick that companies must have solid communication and crisis management plans. Pre-planning communications details, methods, and response strategies for crisis management plan is essential for minimizing the impact a crisis situation.

8) Corporate Crisis Management Plans - Stabilizing the Chaos: (September 15, 2016) Every crisis has the potential to negatively impact a company’s reputation, daily operations, and financial performance. Learn how a strategic crisis management response plan framework with management, communications & recovery checklists and criteria is essential to have in place prior to any crisis scenario in order to guide the decision-making process.

7) Spill Response: HAZWOPER or Hazard Communication Standard Training? (September 8, 2016) Discover how spill response training levels distinguish between incidental spills and emergency spills that require evacuation and Hazmat team assistance.

6) “Top 10" Guide for Response Plan Exercises: (November 3, 2016) Learn the “Top 10” corporate preparedness exercise guidelines for effectively testing response plans and coordinating disaster responses to crises and emergencies.

5)  Business Continuity Scenarios to Review for Effective Preparedness: (August 4, 2016) The list of potential threats, risks and interruptions that can influence the operational status of a business unit is continuously evolving. TRP highlights potential scenarios that should be considered when developing business continuity plans and ensuring corporate preparedness.

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4) New PREP Guidelines Go Into Effect: June 2016: (April 26, 2016) Identify new PREP guidelines that went into effect in June that aligns terms, expands spill countermeasure topics, and includes salvage, marine firefighting, non-tank vessel exercise requirements.

3) What's Your Plan? Emergency Action Plan or Emergency Response Plan? (April 14, 2016) A brief description of the differences between Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Emergency Response Plans (ERP) and how they each impact the specifics and details that must be included in corporate response plans.

2) U.S. Coast Guard Updates OSRO Classification Guidelines for 2016 (June 16, 2016) In March 2016, the US Coast Guard’s National Strike Force Coordination Center released the new 2016 Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO) Guidelines. Companies that contract OSROs to control a worst case discharge spill scenario must be aware of new USCG OSRO classification guidelines.

1) 10 Questions Executives Should Ask about Response Plans and Compliance: (July 7, 2016) Prioritizing compliance, preparedness, and response not only facilitates a unified culture of safety, but heightens a company’s ability to fulfill their moral responsibility to protect employees, the community, and the environment. TRP highlights ten questions that executives should initiate to company managers to ensure effective and compliant response planning programs are in place.

TRP’s industry-proven technology has resulted in many large-scale enterprise-wide implementations across highly regulated industries. The TRP SMARTPLANTM platform has enabled these companies to transition from static mismatched formats and non-functional binder-based response plans to an all-inclusive, user-friendly, web-based preparedness program.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: corporate preparedness

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

Utilizing Technology to Improve Regulatory Compliance and Preparedness

Posted on Thu, May 12, 2016

Workforce Reductions and Petroleum Inventories

Industry volatility associated with plunging commodity pricing is pressing many energy companies to operate at minimal staffing levels, challenging them to “do more with less” while sustaining current enterprise-wide preparedness capabilities and regulatory compliance.

Workforce reductions in the energy sector have resulted in a loss of nearly 118,000 jobs in the U.S. since the beginning of 20151, and more than 320,000 positions globally since the downturn began2. Even with reduced staffing, safety expectations, environmental protection standards, and regulatory compliance requirements remain constant - providing justification for utilizing tools that increase efficiencies and further reduce labor costs.

In conjunction with enormous staff reductions, petroleum inventories have increased to record levels. As of April 29, 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Agency listed the inventory of crude oil and petroleum stocks at 2,065,928 (thousand barrels), the highest amount in history3. Although facilities and response plans are designed for a worst case discharge, there is now less margin for error for a large spill, given that many facilities are operating at higher capacities.

Complex Compliance Requirements

Oil storage operations are heavily regulated. Overlapping response plan requirements from multiple agencies are applicable to many facilities. Federal agencies that may require response plans include EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, PHMSA, and OSHA. As many as three different federal agencies regulate OPA 90 for some facilities, and certain states add more requirements. In addition to the complexities of developing and maintaining Facility Response Plans, many facilities are subject to planning requirements for Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures, Dock Operations, Security, Risk Management, Process Safety Management, Emergency Response, and Fire Pre-Plans. Many of these regulations require similar site-specific details, further exemplifying the need for tools that are specifically designed to leverage and manage this content.

In order to maintain company-wide compliance and preparedness, every response plan must contain accurate site-specific details consistent with operations, personnel, topography, sensitivities, weather, and other factors. Maintaining this level of detail across multiple plan types for a large number of facilities is a challenge, especially when less personnel are available. TransMontaigne Partners and DCP Midstream, among others, have embraced cloud-based, database-driven systems specifically designed to improve flexibility, accessibility, efficiency, and consistency of their response plans. Intuitive response planning systems that streamline formats, and utilize database technology to leverage and manage information offer tremendous benefits in improving compliance and preparedness.

SMARTPLAN™ Response Planning Tools

For companies with multiple facilities and locations, cloud-based planning systems, such as Technical Response Planning’s (TRP) SMARTPLAN™ Software, provide a platform for site-specific response plans that integrate seamlessly with company-wide operations, procedures, and policies. DCP Midstream, which has been utilizing TRP’s technology for their Emergency Response Plans since 2001, operates 63 gas processing plants and over 64,000 miles of pipelines across 17 states. “With a footprint that large, we need to leverage technology to improve efficiencies,” says Brian McGuire, Director of Health, Safety and Security for DCP Midstream. TRP’s system enabled DCP Midstream to optimize plan maintenance processes, plan formats, and regulatory compliance at every location.

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In 2013, TRP demonstrated their new SMARTPLAN™ Software to DCP. “I quickly recognized the power of the new platform and improvements that would enable us to easily manage all of our plan types, including SPCC Plans, Business Continuity Plans, and Risk Management Plans, in addition to the Emergency Response and Crisis Management Plans that TRP had been managing since 2001,” says McGuire. “When integration of our current plans into the SMARTPLAN™ platform was completed in 2014, it was an easy decision to also add our NGL Pipeline County Emergency Response Plans and our more than 700 SPCC Plans. TRP’s quick turnaround in transitioning these additional plans exceeded our expectations.”

TransMontaigne Partners, which operates more than 50 refined product bulk storage terminals and pipeline systems, also saw the enterprise-wide benefits of the new system. “TRP recently upgraded our account to their new SMARTPLAN™ platform, which provides even more functionality, flexibility, and tools to help us manage regulatory requirements and plan maintenance for our large operation,” says Dudley Tarlton, Vice President of Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health with TransMontaigne Partners. “Their software allows TransMontaigne Partners to manage our plans much more effectively and with less manpower than could be done with traditional methods.” 

TRP’s SMARTPLAN™ software system and unique approach has been widely adopted by companies like DCP Midstream and TransMontaigne Partners. SMARTPLAN™ accomplishes these improvements in efficiency by providing the following:

Instant Accessibility: Ensures each approved stakeholder has access to the latest version of every response plan. Accessibility options include being able to access live from the Internet, download a static electronic version, or print paper copies. The electronic format also provides the ability for plans to be shared for regulator or auditor review. In addition, hyperlinks, reference libraries, simplified interfaces, and reporting tools improve functionality and further leverage available data for plan users.

Plan Management Tools: Database allows for information to be mapped to multiple locations in all plan types, across an entire company. By reducing time requirements, plan updates are more likely to be performed, thereby improving accuracy and compliance.

Instantaneous Revisions: Plan updates are immediately available to all stakeholders. This eliminates “version confusion” for plan users, which improves response plan accuracy. This functionality also provides the ability to quickly and cost effectively apply lessons learned, regulatory changes, and company reorganization issues across all response plans.

Plan Consistency: Promotes the use of a consistent plan format across entire companies, yet it is still customized to account for company-specific processes and philosophies. This allows for improved familiarization with response plans for all company personnel.

Plan Types: Provides all types of response plans, including Facility Response Plans, Emergency Response Plans, SPCC Plans, Fire Pre-Plans, Business Continuity Plans, and others.

“TRP’s system has always done an amazing job of standardizing our many plans, and helping us manage all of our plan contacts,” says McGuire. “In addition, the new dike volume calculation tools in SMARTPLAN™ have greatly improved the accuracy and documentation of our SPCC plans and have significantly reduced time required to perform manual calculations.”

  1. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Fed-U-S-oil-job-cuts-reach-about-118-000-7237605.php
  2. http://fuelfix.com/blog/2016/04/07/chevron-cutting-655-houston-jobs-amid-oil-bust/#31744101=0
  3. https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/PET_STOC_WSTK_DCU_NUS_W.htm

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Emergency Preparedness, Regulatory Compliance, corporate preparedness

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

Posted on Thu, Dec 17, 2015

As Technical Response Planning Corporation looks forward to 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.

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.

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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

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

Combat Complacency: 12 Cost/Benefit Emergency Management Objectives

Posted on Thu, Nov 12, 2015

Companies that experience extended periods of incident-free, operational continuity, often develop a dulled sense of vulnerability that impedes response planning and preparedness. EHS managers must continually address complacency and fluctuating real-world potential issues, site-specific risks, and regulatory compliance within set budgets. Securing the status quo when daily operations and external influences can provoke everything from critical incidents to catastrophic disasters presents a continuous balancing act for EHS managers.

The challenge of sustaining effective safety and preparedness levels is often met with budget justifications for intervention, prevention, and response planning. However, the cost of complacency and stagnation is typically higher than the cost of advancing and implementing safety, preparedness, and response planning initiatives.

EHS budget justifications are often plagued by challenging internal and external factors. Internal challenges often include profitability, shareholder value, and cost control measures. These factors often propel management to question the likelihood of profit/loss scenarios. Additionally, regulatory compliance mitigation opportunities and response planning initiatives are often sacrificed during this process. However, one ineffectively handled emergency or crisis situation can cost a company many times the cost of implementing and maintaining an effective program.

External factors such as regulatory compliance, high-risk locations, shifting labor markets, and emerging competitors can increase the complexity and cost of overall operations. However, these external factors also introduce the potential for additional costs related to fines, emergencies, crises, and business continuity issues. Without a proactive approach to preparedness and response planning, reactionary costs will eventually overtake the cost savings of an effective program.

A detailed emergency management program cost-benefit analysis can highlight the potential cost savings of an effective program and communicate the various threats to operational continuity and longevity. Prevention, mitigation, and planning costs should be compared with the financial impact of situational recovery processes and the overall costs of an incident. The analysis should identify and evaluate low, medium, and high impact likely scenarios, associated response expenditures, and total estimated recovery costs including, but are not limited to:

  • Impacts on employees
  • Short term or long term business interruption
  • Regulatory fines or mandated shutdown for non-compliance
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Equipment failure
  • Inventory/stock losses
  • Reputation
  • Environmental damage

A thorough emergency management program review and response plan audits can reveal specific deficiencies and identify areas for program improvement. These deficiencies should be prioritized, quantified for mitigation, and included in a long-term budget plan. In addition to fulfilling a moral responsibility to protect employees, the community, and the environment, an effective and exercised emergency management program should meet certain key strategic and tactical objectives in order to be cost beneficial. Objectives should include, but are not limited to:

  1. Enhancing employee safety to minimize harm
  2. Facilitating compliance with Federal, State, and Local regulatory requirements, eliminating the threat of potential fines.
  3. Reducing the potential for infrastructure and property damage
  4. Enhancing the ability to recover from business interruption and loss
  5. Reducing indirect business interruption loss (ex. supply chain “ripple” effects)
  6. Reducing environmental damage
  7. Enhancing a company’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community.
  8. Reducing community damage and impacts (ex. historic sites, schools, neighborhoods)
  9. Minimizing societal losses (ex. casualties, injuries, layoffs)
  10. Reducing need for costly emergency response
  11. Reducing exposure to civil or criminal liability in the event of an incident.
  12. Potentially reducing insurance premiums (check with individual insurance providers for associated savings).

Over the long term, emergency management complacency becomes expensive and has a negative effect on corporate preparedness and response planning. By properly budgeting and continuously evaluating incident mitigation opportunities, improving response capabilities and quantifying regulatory compliance, EHS managers can reduce the costs associated with incidents and contribute to the longevity of a company.

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Tags: Resiliency, Workplace Safety, corporate preparedness