Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Expert Response Planning Advice for Manufacturing Plants

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

There are many possible hazards associated with manufacturing plant operations. Heavy machinery, various corrosive and combustible chemicals, and possible confined spaces are just a few of the potential safety issues associated with production or manufacturing facilities. When incidents or emergencies occur, improvising and implementing unplanned response actions is often inadequate, potentially life-threatening for employees, and typically damaging to a company’s reputation.

Preparing for every possible known and unknown site-specific contingency may be unrealistic. However, every effort should be made to include processes and procedures for the most likely and applicable emergency scenarios relevant to your facility. By analyzing potential hazards, reducing risks, and investing in mitigation and preparedness, companies with manufacturing operations can secure the foundation for long-term risk management, sustainability and social responsibility.

Insufficient EHS budgeting often results in overwhelmed personnel responsible for developing new emergency response plans, or even updating existing ones. However, without proactive mitigation and inclusive response planning efforts, reactionary costs often outpace the expenditures associated with effective emergency management programs. 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 should not deflect attention from crucial response planning efforts. 

The potential for additional costs related to fines, emergencies, crises, and business continuity issues is prevalent when preparedness measures are neglected. Incident recovery costs often include, 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

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Each manufacturing site must analyze their potential hazards and applicable responses. The analysis should identify and evaluate low, medium, and high impact likely scenarios, associated response expenditures, and total estimated recovery costs. Every section of the response plans needs to serve a specific purpose and meet explicit site-specific planning objectives. Below is a list of planning objectives that may be relevant to your facility:

  1. Establish site specific emergency response procedures for scenarios including:
    • Medical emergencies
    • Chemical releases
    • Fires
    • Severe weather
    • Security issues
    • Confined space rescue, if applicable
  2. Establish mitigation procedures and protective actions, such as evacuation or shelter-in-place, to safeguard the health and safety of on-site non-emergency personnel and nearby communities.
  3. Design an incident management team organization and assign personnel to fill primary and alternate roles.
  4. Ensure incident management team personnel receive applicable training for their roles.
  5. Define notification and response team activation procedures.
  6. Establish response communication procedures and identify necessary communication equipment.
  7. Identify internal and external resources necessary to ensure availability of applicable responders and equipment.
  8. Identify primary and alternate Emergency Operations Center location.
  9. Maintain compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal requirements for emergency response plans, training and exercise requirements, and hazardous materials, if applicable.
  10. Integrate industry-specific best practices, as well as lessons learned from past training, exercises, and actual emergencies.

Violating government regulations and disregarding employees’ safety can tarnish a company’s reputation, impact shareholders’ worth, and alter customer relations. As a result, manufacturing plants may require multiple plan types to account for varying regulatory and operational factors. These plan types may include, but are not limited to:

  • Emergency Response Plans
  • Business Continuity Plans
  • Crisis Management Plans
  • Spill Prevention Plans (SPCCs)
  • Fire Pre-Plans
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • Severe Weather or Hurricane Plans
  • Pandemic Plans

 

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

 

Tags: manufacturing

Establishing a Culture of Preparedness and Safety in Manufacturing

Posted on Thu, Feb 18, 2016

Corporate risk management, sustainability, and social responsibility are fundamental aspects of achieving economic objectives for the manufacturing industry. However, these three elements can fall victim to a lack of preparedness and safety measures, jeopardizing corporate economic goals, productivity, and longevity.

Manufacturing managers and corporate executives may not prioritize preparedness and safety based on “what if” scenarios unless regulations require implementation or the company has experienced an eye-opening safety issue.

“It is often the case that the “relationship” is developed when the two parties are forced to the table together as a result of a particular incident, accident, regulatory compliance initiative, or budgetary crisis.” - The Accounting Revolution and the New Sustainability Implications for the OSH Professional

The following suggestions and discussion points can assist manufacturing companies in implementing and sustaining a culture of safety and preparedness.

Allocate Budgets
Because companies are in the business of making a profit, preparedness and safety mitigation budgets may be compromised for other priorities. However, pre-emptive mitigation efforts are crucial to preventing incidents and minimizing costly impacts. The mitigation process, which may include technology, training, or procedural alternative, require implementation of preventative measure before the next incident, crisis situation, or even regulatory inspection.

Companies should provide managers and corporate decision-makers a detailed vulnerability and hazard analyses with concrete financial statistics of their effects. This may garner increased support for the development of mitigated preparedness measures and safety initiatives.

Employee involvement
Employees’ participation in health and safety discussions is crucial to achieving their buy-in. This fosters improved relationships and trust between management and team members. This valuable coordination is especially true in organizations where workplace safety has not always been highly valued. Employees should have positions on safety committees or have access to a secure and trusted platform to report hazard and safety concerns without the fear of retribution.

Hazard and threats assessment 

An annual safety hazard analysis can identify potential undiscovered threats and vulnerabilities. This analysis can be used to spur mitigation efforts, budget allocations, and necessary preparedness measures. Companies should analyze potential threats and hazards including, but not limited to:

  • Historical weather patterns
  • Geographical influences
  • Security efforts
  • Inherent operational and production hazards
  • Plant design
  • Potential maintenance issues

Scope of awareness and implementation
Overall resilience should be prioritized to mitigate any potential incident. If auditing and implementing preparedness and safety measures are beyond the scope of managers, companies should consider hiring specialized consultants. External resources can often identify and address site-specific needs, improved standard operating procedures, and necessary personnel training.

Employee training
Properly trained personnel, guidance, documentation, and oversight not only ensure compliance with agency regulations, but add HSE program value, improve operational safety, and contribute to minimizing harmful incidents from occurring. While regulatory requirements are designed to prevent harm and ensure adequate responses are in place to protect employees, companies should not rely on regulatory training requirements and agency inspections to ensure training programs are sufficient. Employee training feedback and objective internal auditing emphasizes corporate safety and can often reveal inadequacies and mitigation opportunities. Corporate leadership must reinforce safety and preparedness values by ensuring that managers have the resources to train their teams.

Maintaining preparedness culture
Whether it be in the form of weekly emails or a video messages, top leadership have numerous communication tools available to help build a culture of safety. Managers who emphasize, embrace, and enact safety measures as part of standard operating procedures will create a work environment that reflects the guiding principles of preparedness. As preparedness measures and best practices are ingrained in operational processes, personnel will be more apt to embrace the culture.

Violating government regulations or breaching employees’ trust can tarnish a manufacturing business’s reputation and impact shareholder and customer value. By analyzing safety threats, reducing risks, and investing in mitigation and preparedness, these companies can secure the foundation for long-term risk management, sustainability, and social responsibility.

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Response Plans, manufacturing