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Compliance Tips for Industrial Emergency Management Exercise Programs

Posted on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

The National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) is a unified federal effort established to provide a consistent set of guidelines that satisfies the exercise requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in an economically feasible manner.

The intent is to create a workable exercise program which meets section 4202(a) of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 amending section 311(j) of the Federal Water Pollution 6 Control Act, by adding a new subsection for spill response preparedness (33 USC 1321(j)(7)). Facilities and vessels required to adhere to these regulations must establish a compliant exercise program to ensure an adequate response to an oil spill.

Plan holders may develop a customized exercise program based on site operations or utilize the PREP exercise guidelines. The program must comply with the appropriate Federal oversight agency and regulatory exercise requirements. In order to maintain PREP compliance, all core components of a response plan must be exercised every three years. However, it is not required to conduct a major exercise every three years. PREP compliance can be obtained by exercising individual components within in a three-year cycle. The exercises must incorporate the following core PREP components:

  1. Notifications
  2. Staff mobilization
  3. Ability to operate within the response management system described in the Plan
  4. Discharge prevention/control
  5. Assessment of discharge
  6. Containment of discharge
  7. Recovery of spilled material
  8. Protection of sensitive areas
  9. Disposal of recovered material and contaminated debris
  10. Communications
  11. Transportation
  12. Personnel support
  13. Equipment maintenance and support
  14. Procurement
  15. Documentation

Exercises should be designed to test the aforementioned response plan components for effectiveness and accuracy. In order to satisfy the PREP requirement, plan holders must be able to document all operational and support aspects of a response, and provide detailed records of decisions and actions taken. Exercise requirements vary depending on operations. Vessels, unmanned barges, and certain identified facilities each have specific exercise requirements. Generally, the types of exercises required include:

1. Qualified Individual (QI) notification exercises: The purpose of the QI notification exercise is to ensure that the QI (or designee) listed in the response plan will respond as expected and carry out his or her required duties in a spill response emergency. Contact by telephone or electronic messaging must be made with the QI, and confirmation must be received from him or her to satisfy the requirements of this exercise. At least once per year, the QI notification exercise should be conducted during non-business hours.

2. Emergency procedures exercises: The purpose of the emergency procedures exercises is to ensure that personnel are capable of conducting the initial actions necessary to mitigate the effects of a spill. Specific regulations apply to vessels and unmanned barges. USCG and EPA Marine Transportation-Related Facilities have the option of conducting emergency procedures exercises. For the purpose of the PREP, emergency procedures for facilities are the procedures established to mitigate or prevent any discharge or a substantial discharge threat resulting from facility operational activities associated with cargo transfers. An unannounced emergency procedures exercise would satisfy the facility's requirement for the annual unannounced exercise.

3. Equipment deployment exercises: The purpose of equipment deployment exercises is to ensure response equipment is appropriate for the operating environment and that operating personnel are trained in its deployment and operation. It is not necessary to deploy every piece and type of equipment as long as all equipment is included in a periodic inspection and maintenance program. The inspection and maintenance program should ensure that the equipment remains in good working order.

4. Spill Management Team (SMT) tabletop exercises: At least one SMT Tabletop Exercises in a triennial cycle should involve a worst-case discharge scenario. If a response plan lists different types of SMTs for varying spill sizes (ex, a local SMT for small spills, a regional team for larger spills, and a national team for major spills), each team identified should be required to conduct an annual SMT tabletop exercise.

For a free download entitled, "Tips on How to Conduct an Effective Exercise", click the image below:

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: USCG, PHMSA, OPA 90, Training and Exercises

Managing Response Plans for Multiple Regulatory Agencies

Posted on Thu, Mar 20, 2014

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:

EPA:

  • 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.

For a free Audit Preparedness Guide for Industrial Regulatory Compliance, click the image below:

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: USCG, PHMSA, DOT, OSHA, Response Plans, EPA, OPA 90, Regulatory Compliance

How HSE Audits Can Address Gaps in your Regulatory Plans

Posted on Mon, Mar 03, 2014

Regulatory requirements are designed to prevent injuries, releases of hazardous materials, and ensure adequate responses are in place if and when an incident occurs. However, companies often find themselves scrambling to fill identified gaps in processes, procedures, and response plans after a response or audit is completed. If these gaps are left open, companies can face fines, lawsuits, shutdowns, and/or reputational risk.

Fortunately, audits, whether conducted by in-house professionals or experienced consultants, can often reveal the same deficiencies and opportunities for improvement as regulatory agencies. Some companies address response plan gaps only after an incident or audit occurs. With an objective eye, a gap analysis can bolster an overall emergency management program and minimize the potential for an incident, fine, or inadequate response.

Regulatory requirements must be identified in order for gaps to be identified.. In order to maintain consistent compliance, facility managers and company health, safety, and environmental professionals should become familiar with regulations applicable to their area of responsibility and operations. If necessary, outside consults can be utilized to identify all applicable regulations based on company location(s), industry, operations, and hazards.

GAP EVALUATION/CONTROL

After an incident or audit, new or unidentified risks or regulatory gaps may be identified that were not previously included in response plans. Upon recognition, every effort should be made for mitigation. However, if the risks cannot be eliminated, new countermeasure processes and procedures must be implemented and response plans adjusted accordingly in order to eliminate potential gaps. If audits identify that applicable regulatory requirements are not met, specific content, and/or processes must be implemented and/or documented to satisfy those requirements.

The following concepts can assist in addressing gaps in regulatory plans:

  • High probability and operational risks should be cross-referenced with potential regulatory requirement(s).
    • Evaluate accident probability for each process, procedure, handled material, and their resulting levels of potential severity if an accident were to occur.
    • The probability and severity of a risk should determine the priority level for correcting the hazard. The higher the probability and severity of risk, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective action.
  • If accidents or incidents occur, isolate, eliminate, or mitigate the root cause, and identify any/all linking regulatory requirements.
    • Response plan documentation should include processes and procedures applicable to the accident or incident. If a gap was identified during the response, amendments must communicated, incorporated into training, and documented in the response plan.
  • If audits reveal regulatory gaps, changes in processes and/or procedures should be made in order to become compliant with regulatory agencies.
    • Process or procedural amendments must communicated, incorporated into training, and documented in the response plan.
    • Implement and document any risk reducing engineering controls
  • Proactive administrative controls or work place practices can reduce the potential of gaps in response plans, training, and/or exercises.
  • Accident prevention signs should be posted to remind occupants of the presence of hazards and applicable regulations
  • Establish and communicate emergency response plan content  to employees and appropriate emergency response team members. Provide a mechanism for workplace process feedback and regulatory implementation.
  • Implement web-based, database driven response plans.
    • Advanced technology allows for an audit “checklist”, specifically linking specific requirements to applicable content within the plan.
    • Provides the ability to duplicate recurring facility information to satisfy multiple agency requirements.
    • Eases the administrative time by easing the ability to update content and ever-changing regulations, minimizing the opportunity for regulatory implementation delays.

 

For a free white paper on how audits can assist your company with regulatory compliance, click the image below:

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: PHMSA, OSHA HAZWOPER, Facility Response Plan, EPA, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program

PREP for Corporate Regulatory Compliance

Posted on Mon, Oct 07, 2013

Industry-specific regulations often require response exercises for compliance. The National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) is designed to facilitate the periodic testing of oil spill response plans for certain vessels and facilities, and provide companies an economically feasible mechanism for exercise compliance.

This unified federal effort provides a consistent set of guidelines that satisfies the exercise requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) , and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSSE). Completion and documentation of the PREP exercises satisfies all OPA 90 mandated federal oil pollution response exercise requirements.

Exercises must be designed to test responder competencies, and response plan components for effectiveness and accuracy.  In preparation for these exercises, companies should develop exercise-planning documents and participant packages that contain exercise objectives, scenarios, ground rules, and in some cases, simulated injects. Through exercises, responders gain an understanding of the site-specific Emergency Response Plan framework. Exercises provide a mechanism to test participants’ knowledge and understanding of how to mobilize an appropriate response, execute communications and decision-making processes, and effectively manage a worst-case spill response. Effectively planned and executed exercises typically result in improved communication and multi-agency response capabilities in the event of an actual spill.

Common exercise objectives include, but are not limited to:

  • Practice application of National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS)
  • Improve understanding of the Emergency Response Team and Incident Management Team organizations.
  • Improve understanding of the internal and external response capabilities, associated responsibilities, and expectations of the company.
  • Practice documenting and communicating response actions, management decision, and tracking of resources, using standardized Incident Command System (ICS) forms and the Oil Spill Response Plan.
The following 15 PREP components must be exercised during a three years period  in order to fulfill PREP requirements:

Organization

1. Notifications: Test the notification procedures identified in the Area Contingency Plan (ACP) and the Spill Response Plan.

2. Staff mobilization: Demonstrate the ability to assemble the spill response organization identified in the ACP and the Spill Response Plan.

3. Operate within response management system. Including:

  • Unified Command: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to work within a unified command.
  • Response management system: Demonstrate the ability of the response organization to operate within the framework of the response management system identified in their respective plans.

Operational Response

4. Source control: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to control and stop the discharge at the source.

5. Assessment: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to provide initial assessment of the discharge and provide continuing assessments of the effectiveness of the tactical operations.

6. Containment: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to contain the discharge at the source or in various locations for recovery operations.

7. Recovery: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to recover, mitigate, and remove the discharged product (includes mitigation and removal activities).

8. Protection: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to protect the environmentally and economically sensitive areas identified in the ACP and the respective industry response plan.

9. Disposal: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to dispose of the recovered material and contaminated debris.

Response Support

10. Communications: Demonstrate the ability to establish an effective communications system for the spill response organization.

11. Transportation: Demonstrate the ability to establish effective multi-mode transportation both for execution of the discharge and support functions.

12. Personnel support: Demonstrate the ability to provide the necessary logistical support of all personnel associated with response.

13. Equipment maintenance and support: Demonstrate the ability to maintain and support all equipment associated with the response.

14. Procurement: Demonstrate the ability to establish an effective procurement system.

15. Documentation: Demonstrate the ability of the spill response organization to document all operational and support aspects of the response and provide detailed records of decisions and actions taken.

For a free download on "TIPS on CONDUCTING an EFFECTIVE EXERCISE", click the image below:

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: USCG, PHMSA, EPA, Training and Exercises, Safety

Maximizing Hazardous Material Railway Safety Through Planning Efforts

Posted on Mon, Sep 16, 2013

On August 27/28, 2013, representatives from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) met with stakeholders to initiate a comprehensive review of operational factors that affect the safety of the transportation of hazardous materials by railway.

“We know we can’t wait. The volume of crude oil moving by rail has quadrupled in less than a decade,” said Cynthia Quarterman, PHMSA Administrator. “As greater quantities of HAZMAT are transported by rail, the risks increase, and we have to make sure our regulations and practices keep pace with the market and new technology. We have to identify gaps and close them.”

The late August meeting was used to pinpoint potential reforms, including tougher regulations, and railroad and personnel controls of trains carrying large volumes of crude oil, ethanol and other hazardous cargo. According to the Oil and Gas Financial Journal, total petroleum-based shipments increased 46% from 2011 to 2012. Railroads are used to haul petroleum-based products from locations that such as North Dakota’s Bakken shale fields, where pipelines are lacking. Because of the statistics and a recent accident, there is a heightened awareness for new inspections and oil samplings. This effort, dubbed the “Bakken blitz” by some regulators puts a spotlight on concerns about improper classification of crude oil hazards, the use of unsuitable or unsafe tank cars, security issues, and best practices.

The review comes on the heels of the July 6th Lac-Megantic, Quebec railcar disaster that killed 47 people, forced evacuation of 2,000, and destroyed the town center. The incident was sparked when an unmanned train with a boxcar and 63 loaded tank cars derailed and exploded in the core of town.

FRA’s inspection data since January 2010 shows significant non-compliance with FRA’s securement regulations, 49 CFR 232.103(n), with nearly 4,950 recorded defects in that time. Although railcar accidents have an overall downward trend, accidents associated with “securement” problems rose 31% in the last fiscal year. This data, coupled with the significant increase in hazardous crude by rail transportation, reveals key gaps in railroad and regulatory efforts.

In early August, the FRA and PHMSA issued emergency orders on securing unattended and managing stationary trains.  While train accidents involving hazardous materials are caused by a variety of factors, nearly one-half of all accidents are related to railroad human factors or equipment defects. Under current DOT regulations, all freight railroads are required to develop and implement risk assessments and security plans in order to transport any hazardous material, including a plan to prevent unauthorized access in rail yards, facilities and trains carrying hazardous materials. The emergency order highlights the regulation and requires the following:

  • Railroads are prohibited from leaving trains or vehicles that are transporting hazardous materials unattended unless the railroad complies with a plan that identifies the specific locations and circumstances for which it is safe and suitable for leaving such trains or vehicles unattended.
  • Railroads must develop specific processes for employees responsible for securing any unattended train or vehicles transporting hazardous materials.
  • Railroads must review, verify, and adjust, as necessary, existing requirements and instructions related to the number of hand brakes to be set on unattended trains and vehicles and that railroads review and adjust, as necessary, the procedures for verifying that the number of hand brakes is sufficient to hold the train or vehicle with the air brakes released.
  • Railroads must implement operating rules and practices requiring the job briefing of securement among crewmembers and other involved railroad employees before engaging in any job that will impact or require the securement of any train or vehicle in the course of the work being performed.
  • Railroads must develop procedures to ensure that a qualified railroad employee inspects all equipment that any emergency responder has been on, under, or between for proper securement before the rail equipment or train is left unattended.
For a free fire pre plan download, click the image below:
TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: HAZCOM, PHMSA, Training and Exercises, Regulatory Compliance, Safety

PHMSA Initiates Pipeline Incident Notification Time Limit Advisory

Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2013

On January 3, 2012, the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Pub. L. 112-90) was signed into law. Section 9 of the Act obligates the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Administration (PHMSA) to implement time limit requirements for telephonic or electronic reporting of pipeline accidents and incidents to the Secretary and the National Response Center (NRC). Currently, PHMSA requires pipeline owners and operators to notify the NRC by telephone or electronically at the earliest practicable moment following discovery (§§ 191.5 and 195.52).

On January 30, 2013, an advisory bulletin was published by the Department of Transportation to advise owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities that the NRC should be notified within one hour of discovery of a pipeline incident. Owners, operators, or facilities are now also required to file additional telephonic reports if there are significant changes in the number of fatalities or injuries, product release estimates or the extent of damages.

The advisory reads as follows:

Owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and LNG facilities are reminded that the pipeline safety regulations already require operators to make a telephonic report of an incident to the NRC in Washington, DC at the earliest practicable opportunity (usually one-to-two hours after discovering the incident). However, under Section 9(b)(1) of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, PHMSA is required to issue regulations requiring owners and operators to notify the NRC within one hour of discovery of a pipeline accident or incident. The 2011 Act requires PHMSA to establish a time limit for telephonic or electronic notification of an accident or incident to require such notification at the earliest practicable moment following confirmed discovery of an accident or incident that is not later than one hour following the time of such confirmed discovery. PHMSA will issue a proposed rule at a later date, but encourages owners and operators of the gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities, as a practice, to report such accidents and incidents within one hour of confirmed discovery.

According to the advisory, the following information is required during NRC notification:

  • Name of the operator
  • Name and telephone number of the person making the report
  • Location of the incident
  • Number of fatalities and injuries
  • All other significant facts relevant to the cause of the incident or extent of the damages.

“PHMSA will issue a proposed rule at a later date, but encourages owners and operators of the gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities, as a practice, to report such accidents and incidents within one hour of confirmed discovery.” The final ruling will require the following minimum requirements:

  1. Establish time limits for telephonic or electronic notification of an accident or incident to require such notification at the earliest practicable moment following confirmed discovery of an accident or incident and not later than 1 hour following the time of such confirmed discovery.
  2. Review procedures for owners and operators of pipeline facilities and the National Response Center to provide thorough and coordinated notification to all relevant State and local emergency response officials, including 911 emergency call centers, for the jurisdictions in which those pipeline facilities are located in the event of an accident or incident, and revise such procedures as appropriate.
  3. Require such owners and operators to revise their initial telephonic or electronic notice to the Secretary and the National Response Center with an estimate of the amount of the product released, an estimate of the number of fatalities and injuries, if any, and any other information determined appropriate by the Secretary within 48 hours of the accident or incident, to the extent practicable.

Download this free 9-Step sample Emergency Response Procedures Flow Chart.

TRP Corp -Response Procedure flowchart

Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, Regulatory Compliance

NTSB Advocates Pipeline Safety

Posted on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing pipeline safety to the forefront its advocacy priorities for 2013.  Although transporting petroleum products through pipelines is safer than trucking, proactive corporate safety, emergency planning, and maintenance programs are required to continually improve pipeline infrastructures, identify potential threats, and improve the overall state of the current U.S. pipeline system.

Pipeline safety should continue to improve as increased funding for advanced inspection protocols, vulnerability insights, operators’ efforts, and advanced technologies are embraced. Over the past few years, a series of pipeline incidents has made national headlines and garnered the attention of policy-makers. However, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) statistics show that the average number of serious incidents has declined since 1992.

Infrastructure-critical petroleum products continue to flow  through existing pipelines, while the construction of new pipelines increases steadily. In 2013, policy makers may make decisive actions on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension, which would transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline critics draw attention to the number pipeline accidents that occur every year and highlight recent pipeline accidents, blaming aging pipeline infrastructure and minimal external oversight. However, the age of a pipeline is not a true indicator of material integrity or impending failure. Pipeline failure is ultimately related to how the pipeline is/was constructed, maintained, and operated.

According to PHMSA:

  • 175,000 miles (12%) of onshore and offshore pipelines carry hazardous liquids
  • 321,000 miles of gas transmission and gathering pipelines (38%), both onshore and offshore
  • 2,035,253 miles of pipelines are dedicated to gas distribution mains and services
  • 24% of total energy consumption in the U.S. is distributed by natural gas pipelines
  • Petroleum pipelines distribute 39% of total energy consumption in the U.S.

By implementing and prioritizing mitigation and preparedness (the first two phases of emergency management), industry-wide pipeline incidents, despite age, can be minimized. Below are some of the PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety supported mitigation and preparedness initiatives:

Mitigation

  • Expanding Integrity Management (IM) Protection reform
  • Valve Spacing & Remotely Operated/Automatically Operated Valves
  • Leak Detection Systems
  • Damage Prevention Programs, such as 811
  • Public Awareness pipeline safety messaging
  • Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA): aims to improve pipeline safety through implementation of recommended practices for risk informed land use and development planning.
  • Community Assistance and Technical Support (CATS): provides outreach to all pipeline safety stakeholders.
  • Stakeholder Communication Web Site

Preparedness

  • Pipeline Emergencies Training Program
  • National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS): consists of geospatial data, attribute data, public contact information, and metadata pertaining to the interstate and intrastate hazardous liquid trunk lines and hazardous liquid low-stress lines, gas transmission pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, and hazardous liquid breakout tanks jurisdictional to PHMSA.
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) Project - A Guide for Communicating Emergency Response Information for Natural Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines.
  • Advisory notices as necessary to inform affected pipeline operators and Federal and state pipeline safety personnel of matters that have the potential of becoming safety or environmental risks.

For information about SPCC Plans, download TRP Corp's free SPCC and FRP Inspections guide.

TRP - SPCC

Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, Redundant Systems, Oil Spill, Safety

Regulatory Compliance Management and the Price of Non-Compliance

Posted on Thu, Oct 25, 2012

The increasing number of stringent regulatory compliance standards compounds the complexity of industrial operations. Most companies believe they have the regulatory compliance component of their business under control. However, agencies such as OSHA, EPA, and DOT, continue to inspect and fine companies for non-compliance for a variety of infractions. 

A bill put forth to Congress entitled “Providing Assistance with the Paperwork from Excessive Regulations Act of 2012” was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Small Business. While the bill is aimed at small businesses, the title highlights the “excessive” number of regulations that may be applicable to one facility. 

If government regulations are applicable to operations, companies need to prioritize compliance in order to minimize financial burdens resulting from fines, negative public perceptions, and potential government mandated shutdown of operations. Every month, audits and enforcement mandates are issued from various federal and state agencies that oversee industrial facilities. Costly non-compliance fines continually result from the lack of an implemented, thorough, or effective regulatory compliance programs.

Below are examples of the price of non-compliance for the first eight months of 2012. The list is comprised of a wide array of companies from various regulatory agencies (dates are by citation, not occurrence).

January

  • EPA: Collected a penalty of $25,347 from an oil company in Pennsylvania for alleged violations of oil spill prevention regulations at an oil storage facility
  • OSHA: Proposed penalties of $148,000 in fines to a chemical company in Nebraska for 25 safety violations, 14 of which relate directly to OSHA's standard regulating the process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.

Feburary

  • DOT: The U.S. Department of Transportation announced it has resolved a record number of enforcement cases against pipeline operators over the last three years
  • OSHA: Cited chemical company $ 139,000 for eight repeat and 13 serious safety and health violations at its Delaware facility. Proposed penalties resulted from an inspection that was initiated as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high injury and illness rates.

March

  • EPA: Handed down a $1.2 million civil penalty to a power company for significant violations of the Clean Water Act, Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations, and Navigation Laws. A transformer explosion resulted in thousands of gallons of petroleum entering New York’s Hudson River.

April

  • OSHA: Cited an Atlanta based company for three repeat, three serious, and two other-than-serious safety and health violations at one of its plastics manufacturing facility. The proposed penalties totaled $71,000.
  • PHMSA: A fine of $251,170 was given to an energy company for serious violations regarding a pump/compressor related equipment failure.

May

  • EPA:  An Oregon chemical manufacturer failed to report the use of toxic chemicals at its facility. The violation of the Community Right-To-Know laws resulted in a penalty of $58,200.
  • EPA: According to a consent agreement, a frozen foods company will pay over $84,000 to settle hazardous chemical reporting violations at one of its facility.

June

  • OSHA: Penalties totaling $199,800 were presented to a vinyl manufacturer for a total of 30 safety and health violations; including three repeat violations for failing to properly ground electrical equipment and a lack of machine guarding.
  • EPA: A TSCA complaint resulted in a proposed penalty of $202,779. The complaint alleged that that the company had violated the 2006 IUR rule for 13 chemical substances.

July

  • USCG:  Charged an international shipping company $1 million in criminal fines, served probationary status, and required to pay $300,000 to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries after the Coast Guard inspection revealed undocumented internal transfers and discharges of oily waste into the ocean.
  • PHMSA:  Proposed a record $3,699,200 in fines to one company. The agency listed 24 violations of hazardous liquid pipeline regulations, including failure to fix corrosion problems in the damaged pipe joint discovered 10 years prior.

August

  • PHMSA: Violations of federal pipeline safety regulations resulted in fines totaling more than $2.4 million for one company. Two employees were killed when pipeline repairs caused leaking crude oil to ignite.
  • EPA:  Fined an oil company $15,052 for failing to maintain and fully implement an oil spill prevention plan (SPCC). Negligence contributed to a release of approximately 1,500 gallons of used motor oil from a tanker truck at one facility. As part of the agreement, the company will spend $10,575 to upgrade equipment.

September

  • OSHA:  Cited a chemical company for 14 safety and health violations following an inspection. The company faces proposed penalties of $104,000

Effective technology can be inexpensively utilized to monitor continually evolving regulatory requirements. While some companies may use Excel spreadsheets to manage these requirements, this approach is typically burdensome and ineffective. As companies grow and operations grow, spreadsheets can be overwhelming and time consuming. Operators should consider utilizing database technology to ensure enterprise-wide compliance on multiple government agency fronts.

Key concepts for managing regulatory compliance from a corporate perspective include, but are not limited to:

  • Database Technology -
    • Each applicable regulatory requirement can be hyperlinked to associated site-specific information for each facility.
    • A database will minimize task repetition generated when multiple agencies have regulations that are related to the same subject matter.
    • Updating evolving regulatory information can be effectively managed across multiple facilities with the use of a central database.
    • The ability to search a database for key words and phrases associated with regulations will minimize maintenance time.
  • Compliance Consultations - Identify and utilize corporate resources or outsource compliance expertise to minimize the uncertainty of evolving regulations.
  • Facility-Specific Regulations - Identify mandatory operational and submission requirements for each facility associated with each regulatory agency.
  • Tasking - Assign compliance tasks, frequencies, due dates, persons responsible, and document completion actions.
  • Identify Best Practices - Apply best practices and potential mitigation measures related to compliance.

Regulatory non-compliance has proven to be expensive, time consuming, and potentially dangerous to company employees and the surrounding communities. An effective compliance management process can result in an efficient and integrated program that optimizes the efforts of company stakeholders, and improves compliance.

 

For a sample Emergency Response Checklist, download our helpful and informative guide.

Tags: USCG, PHMSA, OSHA, EPA, Regulatory Compliance, FEMA

Integrated Contingency Plan - The "One Plan" for Regulatory Agencies

Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2012

In 1996, the National Response Team published the Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) Guidance in an effort to provide facilities with the means to comply with multiple federal planning requirements required by various regulatory agencies by consolidating them into one emergency response plan

By creating a single comprehensive integrated contingency plan, emergency managers can;

  • reduce the need for multiple plans
  • minimize administrative costs
  • simplify plan reviews
  • minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • streamline response directives from one source

An ICP does not exempt facilities from applicable regulatory planning requirements pertinent to releases of oil and non-hazardous substances. Multiple federal agencies endorse the use of an ICP as a means to incorporate statutes and regulations, include requirements for emergency response planning. A particular facility may use an ICP to incorporate one or more of the following applicable federal regulations:

  • EPA
    • 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 Transportation/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
    • RSPA Pipeline Response Plan Regulation, 49 CFR part 194
    • US Coast Guard, Facility Response Plan Regulation, 33 CFR part 154, Subpart 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 is not included in the National Response Team ICP Guidance. Facilities are encouraged to coordinate development of their ICP with relevant state and local agencies to ensure compliance with any additional regulatory requirements.

National Response Team is composed of 16 Federal agencies having major responsibilities in environmental, transportation, emergency management, worker safety, and public health areas is the national body responsible for coordinating Federal planning, preparedness, and response actions related to oil discharges and hazardous substance releases

For a sample Emergency Response Checklist, download our helpful and informative guide.

Tags: PHMSA, DOT, OSHA, Emergency Management, EPA, Regulatory Compliance, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Emergency Action Plan

New 2012 Emergency Preparedness Codes and Standards

Posted on Mon, Feb 06, 2012

Below are a few of the new recent changes that have been implemented in 2012 regarding emergency response and emergency planning.

ISO 22320:2011, Societal security – Emergency management – Requirements for Incident Response “outlines global best practice for establishing command and control organizational structures and procedures, decision support, traceability and information management. Interoperability amongst involved organizations is essential for successful incident response. The standard also helps ensure timely, relevant and accurate operational information by specifying processes, systems of work, data capture and management. It also establishes a foundation for coordination and cooperation, ensuring that all relevant parties are on the same page during a disaster, minimizing the risk of misunderstandings and ensuring a more effective use of the combined resources.”

ISO 19011:2011, Guidelines for auditing management systems, has expanded on the ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment) standards to reflect the complexities of auditing multiple management system standards (MSS). The standard is meant to “assist organizations by optimizing and facilitating the integration of management systems through a single audit of its systems. This should streamline the audit processes, reduce duplication of effort, and decrease disruption of work units being audited.”

Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011: The new law doubles the maximum fines that pipeline operators face for safety violations, and requires PHMSA to issue new pipeline safety standards that require operators to install automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves and excess flow valves in new or replaced transmission pipelines.

International Code Council 2012: Changes are a result of the 9/11 International Code Council Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism-Resistant Buildings investigations. Some of the changes in building construction that will aid in a more effective emergency response include:

  • Required elevators in high-rise buildings more than 120 feet tall. This improves firefighters’ access to higher floors, especially with heavy equipment.
  • An additional stairway for high-rises that are more than 420 feet tall.
  • In lieu of the additional stairway, an option to provide enhanced elevators that can be used by the building occupants for emergency evacuation, without waiting for assistance from emergency personnel.
  • A higher standard for fire resistance in high-rise buildings more than 420 feet tall
  • More robust fire proofing for buildings more than 75 feet tall, that will be less likely to be dislodged by impacts or explosions.
  • Shafts enclosing elevators and exit stairways which have impact resistant walls
  • Self-luminous exit pathway markings in all exit stairways that provide a lighted pathway when both the primary and secondary lighting fails.
  • Radio systems within the building to allow emergency personnel to better communicate with involved parties.

For a free guide that details the world of HAZWOPER training, download A Guide to HAZWOPER Training.

HAZWOPER training guide

Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Facility Management, National Preparedness