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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

 

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Corporate Crisis Management

Tags: Business Risk, Mitigation, corporate preparedness

Supply Chain Business Continuity: Have you Planned for Disruptions?

Posted on Thu, Jun 25, 2015

Weather, natural disasters, and other uncontrollable events can interrupt transportation flow and your supply chain – anytime, anywhere, and with little warning. - FedEx.com service alert

In January and February of 2015, blizzards, ice, and frigid cold temperatures targeted the eastern half of the United States. The deluge of extreme weather brought residents, cities, and supply chains to their knees. Meanwhile on the west coast, labor disputes between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association created the partial closure of 29 ports. The Port of Oakland experienced a 39% drop in cargo imports because of the circumstances (Wall Street Journal). The trucking and railroad industries lost valuable time and money, and customers experienced delayed delivery of tons of expected goods. The ripple effect of delayed shipments forced many customers to stockpile goods when available, and alter contracted shipping means when time sensitive goods were required.

Ensuring ample supplies in the midst of an incident can be challenging, especially when external forces create delays. Supply continuity and preparedness efforts are becoming more important as more companies depend on world-wide suppliers. These recent major supply disruptions, both on the east and west coasts, emphasize the need to develop business continuity plans (BCPs) that identify primary and secondary suppliers and alternate resources. By identifying and contracting with vendors and alternate suppliers prior to an incident, a company improves its ability to quickly and successfully respond to unforeseen disruptions.

Pre-emptive identification and mitigation efforts are crucial to preventing supply chain interruptions and costly consequences. Factors to consider in the identification of critical suppliers are complex and extend well beyond first glance analyses. While suppliers of material goods and business-specific products may be critical to business practices, suppliers may also include those that provide the following services, utilities, or infrastructures:

  • Sole source services
  • Electrical power
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation
  • Staffing
  • Waste Management
  • Facilities

Companies should utilize BCPs to prepare for incidents that could impair or impede the ability to operate as a result of a temporary or permanent loss of required supplies, equipment, critical staff, data, and necessary infrastructure. A BCP can help minimize or counteract many of the potential impacts of a supply interruption or set procedures in motion that limit the effects on operations.

Identification of risks and business impact analyses (BIA) should be performed for critical supply chains as part of the development of BCPs. For common disruptions, inept supplier performance, required resources forecasting errors, and transportation and delivery breakdowns, companies can typically utilize historical data to quantify the level of risk and necessary response effort. However, when extraordinary events impact the supply chain, such as the east and west coast incidents, companies may encounter atypical and domino effect impacts. Continuity plans with supply chain response measure must be in place to mitigate the disruption, sustain operations, and restore “business as usual”.  The following supply chain related questions, while not all-inclusive, can be used as response planning discussion points to identify necessary supply-related business continuity and response elements:

  • How would a potential critical material supply disruption affect both internal and external resources?
  • Have critical supplies, interdependencies, and potential bottleneck scenarios been identified?
  • Have critical materials and response equipment needs, minimum levels, and recovery time limits been evaluated and defined?
  • Are processes in place to monitor internal and external supply chains that identify potential delivery disruption?
  • Have back up suppliers been identified and communicated with?
  • Are memorandum of understandings (MOUs) for services, and equipment or supply contracts been established and/or up-to-date?
  • Do business continuity initiation procedures encompass verified primary and secondary supply chain contacts?
  • Is there historical data that indicates potential impacts and durations that can be used for planning?
  • Are “Best Practices” supply chain continuity procedures available from like-companies and industry experts?
  • Do critical suppliers have alternate processes and delivery methods in case an event affects their operations?
  • Have supply disruption scenarios been included in emergency response and business continuity exercises?
  • Are employees trained in the event of supply disruption?
  • Have mitigation measures been examined and implemented based on BIAs?

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: BCM Standards, Business Continuity key points, Business Continuity Plan, Business Disruption, Mitigation

MITIGATION: The Ever-Present Emergency Management Tool

Posted on Thu, Apr 02, 2015

Effective mitigation can often prevent emergencies or minimize their impacts. Mitigation requires a thorough understanding of the potential risks, procedures, regulatory compliance, lessons learned, and operational goals. It is often difficult to quantify and financially justify preparedness mitigation initiatives, however, taking action in the present can often reduce human, environments, and financial consequences in the future.

It is often impractical for companies to spend relentlessly on emergency management mitigation efforts. Operations must remain profitable and margins maintained for corporate viability. Despite that a disaster can strike at any time, potential human, environmental, and financial impacts are often difficult to predict. For optimal financial benefit, mitigation efforts should meet certain key operational and response objectives. Ideally, mitigation efforts should eliminate or lessen the strategic cost of an incident, and reduce the tactical effort of regulatory compliance. Mitigation efforts should, at a minimum:

  • Reduce the likelihood of incidents
  • Improve the ability to respond to incidents
  • Improve the casualty and harm conditions through faster rescues and accident avoidance
  • Strengthen infrastructure against failure
  • Improve corporate reputation through intent and safety investment
  • Reduce projected downtime
  • Improve asset utilization
  • Solidify supply chain availability

Disaster preparedness mitigation measures should also be integrated into corporate and site-specific response planning and corporate preparedness initiatives.  Incorporating upgraded communication methods, technologies, response procedures, and lessons learned can improve the overall functionality of response plans. Response planning mitigation measures may include, but are not limited to:

  • Automating response planning through tracking, updating, and management
  • Facilitating the ability to update plans across locations, sites, rigs, geographies through updated technology
  • Automating regulatory compliance components and response planning activities
  • Reducing the compliance and safety resource consumption
  • Enabling HSE departments, emergency managers, and compliance specialists to spend less time on administrative duties, maintaining plans, reviewing compliance, and reporting
  • Automating governance and controls
  • Optimizing and coordinating drills, testing, and actual emergency responses

Identifying and prioritizing mitigation efforts can be challenging. Below are a series of discussion provoking questions that can assist in mitigation assessments. Although not industry specific, these points may identify which areas of preparedness should be mitigated in order to ensure best emergency management practices are in place (NOTE: These suggested discussion points do not address all mandated planning requirements. Please refer to your operations-specific requirements to ensure regulatory compliance.)

Risk Assessment

  • What are the current high-risk activities at the location?
  • Can high-risk tasks or conditions be mitigated? (The higher the probability and severity of risk, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective actions)
  • Have sensitive areas been identified and potential consequences been assessed?
  • Did risk assessment utilize realistic scenarios to define spill and release volumes and locations?
  • Are employees made aware of hazards associated with specific workplace process, materials, or location(s)?

Compliance

  • What agencies and specific regulations apply to my location(s)?
  • If applicable, have safety data sheets (SDSs) been updated per operations and properties included in the planning process?
  • Have inspections taken place or regulatory audits been performed? If so, have non-compliant issues been mitigated?
  • When will an internal compliance audit(s) be conducted and how will findings be prioritized for mitigation?
  • Is personnel training up-to-date and compliant with site-specific requirements?

Response Elements

  • Are clear procedures in place to notify, assess, and initiate a response?
  • Are individual responders and their contact information verified for accuracy?
  • Can approved stakeholders easily access response plans?
  • Have response times and limitations been identified?
  • Do response elements address necessary updates, such as site construction, personnel changes, and supply chain changes?
  • Have internal and external communication methods been identified in the plan, and are they accurate?
  • Are communications backup systems available and described in the plan?
  • Are staff roles and responsibilities current, specific, and communicated?
  • Have “best practice” strategies and response procedures been identified and implemented?
  • Are processes and procedures identified in the plan to assess and monitor size, shape, type, location, and movement of a spill or release?
  • If applicable, have tactical response details been included and verified for incidents that expand beyond the confines of the facility?
  • If applicable, do spill trajectory estimates and maps mimic current local observations, potential weather scenarios, and historical tendencies?
  • Have sensitive areas been identified and prioritized for protection?
  • Do plans include specific criteria for provisional tiered responses?
  • Are waste management and demobilization processes accurate and communicated?

Documentation

  • Have processes been established for updating planning information?
  • Have updated plot plans and area mapping been integrated with accurate GIS data?
  • Are contracts, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), and other appropriate agreements and documentation in place?
  • Has exercise feedback/lessons learned been incorporated into plan revisions?
  • Are training and exercise records, and applicable regulatory required documentation up-to-date and accessible?
  • Are necessary Incident Command (ICS) forms and company paperwork readily available for response documentation?

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Management Program, Mitigation

Disaster Mitigation Measures and Preparedness Elements

Posted on Thu, Feb 26, 2015

Emergency Management should be a continuous cycle of mitigating risk, response planning, training employees, and exercising plans. It is imperative to understand and address plausible scenarios and inherent employee actions, intentions, and perceptions surrounding a potential incident in order to plan effectively. Once every aspect of a potential scenario is defined, a mitigation process should be implemented with the intent to eliminate risk, minimize the potential for escalation, and reduce overall impacts.

As history has proven, not all risks can be averted. Many natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or wildfires, can occur with little or no warning. If your facility experiences a natural disaster, the incident can alter the day-to-day operations for an extended period.  Natural disaster mitigation measures often stem from preparedness and response planning efforts, and site-specific business continuity plans. When mitigation opportunities and preparedness efforts merge, the impacts to employees, operations, and the environment can be minimized even in the case of a natural disaster.

Disasters and emergency incidents can also stem from Internet or power outages, intentional harm, security issues, human error, supply breakdowns, and on-site hazardous materials. Each facility has its own unique associated risks, therefore targeted, site-specific analyses must be conducted. Once every scenario has been identified for probability and likelihood, and dedicated risk mitigation measures and processes have been prioritized and implemented, implications and business disruptions can be minimized.

Companies should evaluate the following risk mitigation measures in order to heighten preparedness levels:

1. Identify potential arrangements and assets that can directly minimize the impact of the associated threat. Evaluate current arrangements and assets to determine if they are sufficient to eliminate incidents or assist in a more timely response.  Examples include: purchasing backup generator, identifying alternate critical suppliers, increasing computer security measures, purchase equipment and/or contract cleanup companies (such as tree, snow, and hazardous material removal), etc.

2. Identify effective facility procedures that may minimize risks. Response evaluations from employees, responders, and industry counterparts can identify “lessons learned”, revealing potential procedural mitigation opportunities. Examples include; routine data backups, shut-off or shut-down procedures, evacuation processes, training specifics, etc.

3. Estimate the cost for implementation of mitigation measures specific to each process and prioritize budgeting, as necessary. A corporate level commitment to preparedness in conjunction with a “lessons learned” mitigation approach can result in improved response capabilities and lessen the impacts of disasters.

4. Identify and update the recovery point objectives to determine what minimum processes need to be “up and running” to conduct business. This includes a time frame breakdown of specifics that need to be recovered in order to minimize impacts. Examples include:  data backups, employees levels, supply chain requirements, etc.

5. Revise and update response and continuity plans if mitigation measures are fully implemented, tested, and successful.

6. Evaluate and update the “Likelihood Level” based on sound data and adjust mitigation efforts as necessary. Examples include impending hurricane, terrorist threats, computer security updates, and large scale local event.

Determine the duration of the mitigation and evaluate a review or audit calendar. Specific mitigated safety processes and response procedures that are currently effective may need adjustments or updates based on improved technology or lessons learned.

Once mitigation efforts have been optimized for implementation, there may be site-specific elements regarding location, operations, and response efforts that cannot be altered. In this case, specific safety processes and response procedures must be developed for each hazard and associated risks in order to minimize potential impacts.

Mitigating the response planning process should incorporate the following:

  • Form a collaborative team: Engage essential personnel in the planning process to identify and mitigate planning gaps, response capabilities, and necessary internal and external resources for an improved response.
    • A core planning team typically includes an emergency manager or security manager, a hazard mitigation expert, local jurisdictions, and any additional available planning experts.
  • Re-evaluate Hazards and Risks: Perform a vulnerability assessment for the purposes of determining priorities, and developing processes and procedures. Understanding the consequences of a potential incident can help prioritize resources and response efforts. It is helpful to assess local jurisdiction’s planning framework to highlight geographical threats.  Potential facility hazards and risks may include, but are not limited to:
    • Natural Hazards
    • Technological Hazards
    • Chemical Hazards
    • Infrastructure Hazards
    • Human Hazards

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Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Preparedness, Mitigation