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New PREP Guidelines Go Into Effect: June 2016

Posted on Thu, Apr 28, 2016

In April 2016, the EPA released its most recent revision to the Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP). The updated guidelines go into effect June 2016 and incorporate various lessons learned and industry input.

PREP was initially developed to establish an economically feasible exercise program to meet the intent of section 4202(a) of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90). Completion of the exercises described in the new guidelines is one option for maintaining compliance with OPA 90 response exercise requirements.

Exercise programs 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.

In order to satisfy PREP guidelines, all of the core components must be exercised once every three years, at a minimum. Today, a unified effort comprised of the following agencies make up the PREP Compliance, Coordination, and Consistency Committee (PREP 4C):

  • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)


PREP Revisions

According to the April 5, 2016 Marine Safety Information Bulletin, “This revision modernizes the NPREP Guidelines to better align policy with the existing regulations and improve interagency consistency.”  The revisions, which are the first in over a decade, align certain PREP terminology with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), expand spill countermeasure topics, and incorporate salvage, marine firefighting, non-tank vessel exercise requirements.

PREP Terminology: The guidelines stipulate that new terminology does not imply new or different requirements than what is contained in regulations. These new terms should be viewed and treated as “synonyms” that have been adopted to ensure that the PREP program is consistent and easily compared to nationwide exercise terminology used in most other current programs. Updated terminology includes, but is not limited to:

  • Spill Management Team: Replaced by the term “Incident Management Team (IMT)
  • Containment: Wherever the word containment is used in the context of containing oil under the water's surface, the word “subsea” will precede the word “containment”. Where the word “containment” is used by itself, it is presumed to be associated with efforts to contain oil on the water's surface.
  • Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO): The definition of an OSRO has been updated to include, and better describe, a broader range of response resources and services, including source control, all spill countermeasures, and supporting services that an OSRO may provide in order to adequately contain, secure, recover, or mitigate a discharge of oil.

Spill Countermeasure topics:  The following updates were incorporated into the new exercise guidelines:

  • The “Recovery” Core Component in Appendix A was retitled “Mitigation,” and the supporting language was broadened to clarify that mitigation may include the use of various spill countermeasures, including, but not limited to, dispersants, in-situ burning, and bioremediation, in addition to mechanical oil recovery.
  • Plan holders will only be required to exercise Subsea Dispersant Injection (SSDI) equipment upon receiving direction from the Chief of Oil Spill Preparedness Division, or the Chief's designated representative. However, plan holders should carefully describe how SSDI capabilities will be used in their OSRPs.

Salvage, Marine Fire Fighting, Non‐tank Vessel Exercise Requirements: Requirement updates include:

  • Credit for equipment deployment exercises for salvage and marine firefighting services may be claimed for real world operations, when documented as outlined in Chapter 3 of the guidelines. This also applies to traditional oil spill recovery and storage equipment.
  • The committee determined that the best way to provide clarity on the issue of Dispersant-Related Objectives during PREP Exercises was to broaden the definition of OSRO to include all providers that offer any and all spill response resources designed to contain and secure a discharge, and recover or mitigate the impacts of the spilled oil through various countermeasures and supporting services, including mechanical recovery, in-situ burning, dispersants, bioremediation, salvage, source control, and other response services directly supporting the incident such as aerial surveillance and remote sensing.
  • A vessel that has successfully completed a Government-Initiated Unannounced Exercise (GIUE) will not be required to participate in another GIUE in any COTP zone for 36 months. Other vessels under that same plan will not be required to complete another GIUE in that same COTP zone for 36 months. Other vessels in the same plan may be subject to a GIUE in another COTP zone at any time.
  • The frequency of remote assessment and consultation exercises is significantly reduced, from quarterly to annually per vessel when the vessel operates in U.S. waters. The economic burden of this exercise on vessel stakeholders is correspondingly reduced. Annual per vessel credit is appropriate for remote assessment and consultation exercises to ensure that each vessel in the fleet would have the opportunity to simulate initiation of a remote assessment and consultation assessment each year.

A full list of updated 2016 PREP Guidelines can be found on the Federal Register Website.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Training and Exercises, Regulatory Compliance

HSE Managers: What is Your Superpower for Regulatory Compliance?

Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Effective tools are often the superpower that managers need to help reduce HSE department workloads. Declining oil prices, industry volatility, and resulting budget cuts are pressing some oil and gas companies to operate at minimal staffing levels. Yet regulatory compliance requirements, maintaining high safety standards, and environmental protection efforts remain constant. 

As a result, HSE managers are being asked to “do more with less”, stretching their capabilities and creating enterprise-wide preparedness and plan maintenance challenges. HSE managers must seek out available tools to help leverage their time, while ensuring preparedness measures are maintained, multiple response plans are managed, and regulatory compliance is maintained.

For pipeline and terminal operations, and others with numerous facilities requiring multiple plan types, advanced web-based systems offer advantageous plan management opportunities. These advanced systems are ideal for companies with facilities that must comply with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) requirements.

OPA 90 was created to instill comprehensive prevention, response, liability, and compensation policies for facilities that could cause oil pollution to U.S. navigable waters. The law requires that certain facilities submit Facility Response Plans (FRPs) that provide detailed site specific procedures to respond to a worse-case discharge.

FRPs require information and response details from each applicable facility including, but not limited to:

  • Emergency Response Action Plans, which serves as both a planning and action document
  • Facility information, including name, type, location, owner, and operator information
  • Emergency notification, equipment, personnel, and evacuation information
  • Identification and analysis of potential spill hazards and spill history
  • Discussion of small, medium, and worst-case discharge scenarios and response actions
  • Description of discharge detection procedures and equipment
  • Detailed implementation plan for response, containment, and disposal
  • Description and records of self-inspections, drills and exercises, and response training
  • Diagrams of facility site plan, drainage, and evacuation plan
  • Security (e.g., fences, lighting, alarms, guards, emergency cut-off valves and locks, etc.)
  • Response team organization, roles, activation procedures, and personnel assignments

When dedicated HSE staffing is limited, maintaining the many site-specific details required for OPA 90 compliance stretches available human resources. By creating all-inclusive emergency response plans through a system that accounts for OPA 90 requirements and other emergency planning regulations, HSE managers can leverage their time more effectively.   

The key superpower of advanced planning systems that utilize a centralized database is that this tool can incorporate multiple required emergency planning requirements from various agencies including, but not limited to:

  • 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, 49 CFR, part 194
    • S. 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 site-specific, state planning requirements that are not typically contained in the general emergency response plan. HSE managers should coordinate the development of their plans with relevant state agencies to ensure compliance with any additional regulatory requirements.

Regulatory compliance and response planning initiatives are sometimes sacrificed in cost control activities. However, noncompliance fines or one ineffective response to an emergency situation can result in many times the cost of implementing and maintaining an effective program.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Regulatory Compliance

Streamlining Response Planning in the Midst of Slashed Oil & Gas Budgets

Posted on Thu, Mar 10, 2016

In the face of decreasing profits, many oil and gas HSE departments will encounter challenging operational environments and cost cutting initiatives.  However, these departments can minimize or eliminate noncompliance fines and reduce the costs of a disaster. Effective and exercised preparedness and response planning satisfies regulatory compliance requirements, decreases response costs, and fulfills a moral responsibility to protect employees, the community, and the environment.

As oil and gas companies’ budgets shrink and business protocols continue to require preparedness and response planning financial justification, the need to demonstrate the economic benefit of risk reduction costs to decision makers is increasing. However, while historical occurrences can present a general understanding of potential costs of disasters, unique circumstances continually change the landscape of the cost-benefit analysis of preparedness and response planning. Forward thinking risk analyses and associated costs justifications are often minimized and sidelined by profitable operational priorities. The uncertainty of circumstances surrounding an emergency or disaster including human error, equipment failure, climatology, population growth, and/or other external influences, coupled with a “it won’t happen to us” mentality lead to a notion of unjustifiable cost/benefit implementation.

However, the costs associated with regulatory noncompliance fines are often the catalyst for companies to prioritize preparedness and response planning. Fortunately, technological advancements have provided a simplified framework for addressing the administrative costs associated with maintaining compliant response plans. Confirming and updating regulatory compliance is simplified with an enterprise-wide, universally accessible response planning system. As a result, administration costs associated with mandated preparedness and response planning upkeep are reduced, justifying the cost of this new technology.

Implementing advanced software that enables companies to maintain the same or higher levels of compliance with less staff (such as TRP's SMARTPLANis critical when budgets are reduced. Corporate emergency management and HSE budgets can be stretched if response planning software:

  • Facilitates a reduction of dedicated staff
  • Facilitates the ability to update corporate planning elements across locations, sites, geographies, without compromising site-specific details and response challenges
  • Incorporates a simplified foundation to address plan related employee changes and facility acquisitions
  • Allows for streamlined regulatory compliance audits and reduces non-compliance issues on a company-wide scale
  • Automates regulatory governance with electronic submissions

In addition, an effectively exercised and accessible emergency response plan minimizes the duration of the incident and in turn minimizes associated costs and the impacts of an emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure.

In order for the oil and gas industry to continue to be one of the safest operating industrial sectors in the United States, the industry must continue to audit, test, and update preparedness endeavors and response capabilities. Supplying emergency management programs with advanced response planning technology will enable companies to meet key strategic and tactical preparedness objectives within the confines of a reduced budget. These key objectives include, but are not limited to:

  • Facilitating compliance with Federal, State, and Local regulatory requirements, eliminating the threat of potential fines.
  • Reducing property damage through expedited responses
  • Enhancing the ability to recover from business interruption and loss (ex. damaged industrial, commercial, and retail facilities)
  • Reducing indirect business interruption loss (ex. supply chain “ripple” effects)
  • Reducing environmental damage (ex. wetlands, parks, wildlife)
  • Enhancing a company’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community.
  • Reducing other non-market damage (ex. historic sites, schools, neighborhoods)
  • Minimizing societal losses (ex. casualties, injuries)
  • Reducing need for emergency response (ex. ambulance service, fire protection).
  • Reducing exposure to civil or criminal liability in the event of an incident.
  • Potentially reducing insurance premiums (check with individual insurance providers for associated savings).

Regulatory compliance and response planning initiatives are often sacrificed in cost control activities. However, noncompliance fines or one ineffectively response to an emergency, disaster, or crisis situation can cost a company many times the cost of implementing and maintaining an effective program.

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Tags: Regulatory Compliance, HSE Program

Shrinking the Regulatory Compliance Costs for Bulk Storage Facilities

Posted on Thu, Jan 28, 2016

Bulk storage facility emergency managers are often responsible for predicting, preparing, complying, documenting, and possibly, responding to emergencies. The task requires site-specific planning, internal and external response coordination, training, and exercises. However if bulk storage facilities are not compliant with preparedness regulations, the ramifications can be exceedingly detrimental to employees, the environment, and the company’s financial bottom line.

In December 2015, Aloha Petroleum agreed to pay $650,000 to settle Clean Air and Clean Water acts violations at its Hilo East bulk fuel storage facility. According to the EPA, the facility exceeded emission limits at the loading rack and had inadequate secondary spill containment for the storage tanks. The company agreed to cease operations at the site until compliant modifications could be implemented.

Every month, audits and enforcement mandates are issued from various federal and state agencies that oversee bulk storage tank facilities. Costly non-compliance fines continually result from the lack of implemented, thorough, or effective regulatory compliance programs.

A methodological regulatory compliance tracking component should be part of bulk storage operator’ emergency management program. This itemized tracking process should detail applicable federal, state, and local regulation, and include information required to satisfy each applicable regulation. A regulatory tracking system should, at a minimum, contain the following components:

  • Operational categories: Categories can range from air quality and hazardous materials, to construction safety and general safety and health. Depending on the detail required by the regulations, further breakouts by subcategories may also be required.
  • Applicable Regulation Level: Regulations should be further broken down to Federal, state or local regulation categories.
  • Time/Date Stamping: The time and date that each regulation was last updated.
  • Compliance Feedback: Applicable notes regarding compliance or non-compliance.
  • Industry Standard: Best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
  • Facility Compliance responsibility: Identify contact assigned to maintain compliance for each regulatory requirement.
  • Action Item Reporting: Provides a list of outstanding and completed action items, along with due dates and person(s) assigned. Reports should have filters to customize queries as required by the users.

Modernizing compliance tracking efforts can often result in cost savings. The tactical cost of compliance can be reduced through a web-based compliance tracking module. Updating evolving regulatory information among multiple facilities and/or incorporating new or newly acquired facilities can be effectively managed and streamlined with the use of a database. With required response plans in an easy-to-use electronic format, companies can easily confirm detailed compliance elements and effortlessly adhere to the various regulatory submission policies.

The impact of non-compliance fines and potential shutdowns can be financially destructive for bulk storage facilities, as well as detrimental to community relations and corporate image. Yet, maintaining regulatory compliance does require a dedicated budget. Fortunately, a web-based regulatory tracking system can reduce the overall cost of company-wide compliance by:

  • Identifying applicable regulations based on operations and site-specific details
  • Automating core compliance and response planning activities
  • Simplifying automated tracking and management
  • Enabling EHS employees to spend time planning and performing versus complying and reporting
  • Automating corporate governance and controls
  • Optimizing and coordinating drills, testing, and actual emergency responses
  • Updating regulation rules and controls for every facility

New or newly acquired facilities can be easily absorbed into a web-based company-wide regulatory compliance tracking program. EHS managers or the facility managers at new locations should perform a thorough regulatory gap analysis or audit to identify compliance deficiencies. Managers of a new or acquired location should then conform, comply, and correspond with company directives, disclose applicable regulations, and mitigate non-compliant components to ensure compliance.

The cost savings for implementing a modernized, web-based regulatory tracking component can be significant. Considering regulations are aimed at prevention, minimizing the impact of incidents, and improving a company’s ability to respond when emergencies occur, companies should continue to evaluate the effectiveness and tediousness of their current programs to determine if a web-based program is a better fit in 2016.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory Compliance: New OSHA Standard for Confined Space Entry

Posted on Thu, Dec 03, 2015

Confined spaces, such as manholes, crawl spaces, and tanks, are not designed for continuous occupancy and are difficult to exit in the event of an emergency. People working in confined spaces may face life-threatening hazards including potential exposure to toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation.

In May 2015, OSHA issued a final standard, known as Subpart AA of part 1926 of the Code of Federal Regulations, regarding construction workers who work in confined spaces. According to Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, the new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces. “We estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year”, said Perez.

The standard requires employers at construction sites to determine key confined space elements. Key provisions of the final standard require employers to:

  • Determine what kinds of spaces their employees will be in, what hazards could be there, and how those hazards should be made safe
  • Train each employee whose work is regulated by this standard, at no cost to the employee
  • Develop and implement a written confined space program if employees will enter permit spaces
  • Take effective steps to prevent employees from entering those spaces, if employees will not need to enter the permit spaces
  • Provide rescue and emergency services for employees who enter permit spaces, should anything go wrong

The standard applies to all construction workers who may be exposed to confined space hazards, such as those who work in boilers, tanks, storage bins, silos, stacks, vaults, pits, chambers, sewers, manholes, crawl spaces, and many more locations that have cramped spaces and narrow openings. According to OSHA, there are three characteristics of confined spaces:

  • It is big enough for a person to fit his or her entire body
  • It is restrictive for the person entering and exiting
  • The space is not meant for someone to stay in for a long period of time

The new rule provides construction employees with protections similar to general industry standard (29 CFR 1910.146). However, there are several different components tailored to the construction industry. The new Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926, includes:

  • More detailed provisions for coordinating activities with other employers at the site
  • Competent site evaluation in order to identify confined and permit spaces
  • Requirement for continuous atmospheric monitoring, when possible
  • Requirement for continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards
  • Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation
  • Requiring that employers eliminate or isolate any physical hazards before directing employees to enter a space without using a complete permit system
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local entities for emergency services to arrange for those responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the employee understands
OSHA uses the term permit-required confined space (PRCS) to describe a space that has one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress

Construction site employers with PRCS must maintain a program detailing their PRCS
and comply with various safety requirements including, but not limited to:

  • Danger and warning signs that alert workers about the PRCS
  • Permits for safe entry operations, which also feature atmospheric test results
  • Certified documents detailing alternative entry procedures and safety methods for workers in the PRCS
  • A professional engineer’s written approval to ensure that employees know the provisions and limitations of using specifically designed personnel hoisting systems
  • Safety data sheets for workers who are exposed in the PRCS
  • Employee training records to confirm confined space training requirements
TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: OSHA, Regulatory Compliance

OSHA's Top 10 Affirms Need for Regulatory Compliance Tracking System

Posted on Thu, Nov 19, 2015

In mid-October, six people were injured when seven stories of scaffolding collapsed at an apartment construction site in busy downtown Houston. The cause of the collapse is currently being investigated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors. Unfortunately, scenes like the one that occurred in downtown Houston continue to occur across the United States in staggering numbers.

OSHA recently announced its preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for 2015. These preliminary ranking were based on figures through September 8, 2015. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the Top 10 at the 2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo held in Atlanta, GA. As with years past, fall protection and scaffolding incidents continually rank in the Top 10 violations. The list incorporates worksite inspection findings of Federal OSHA inspectors from across the country.

Every month, audits and enforcement mandates are issued from various federal and state agencies. Costly non-compliance fines continually result from the lack of an implemented, thorough, or effective regulatory compliance program. Ideally, companies should utilize this list to conduct assessments, identify potential site-specific compliance lapses, and mitigate these highly recognized hazards. When companies deliberately protect lives, prevent hazardous environmental impacts, limit property damage, and eliminate regulatory fines, prioritizing an EHS program becomes an investment in the sustainability of a company.

The Top 10 for FY 2015 violations include:

  1. Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,721
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,192
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,295
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,305
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 3,002
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,760
  7. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,489
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,404
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,295
  10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 1,973

It is often impractical for companies to spend relentlessly on emergency management mitigation efforts. However, regulatory compliance, required safety processes, and response planning should not be compromised for expedited operations and profitability. Prevention, mitigation, and planning costs should be analyzed against the financial impacts and potential stigma of non-compliance and emergency scenarios. These costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Human life
  • Short term or long term business interruption
  • Lawsuit(s)
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Equipment failure
  • Inventory/stock losses
  • Fines
  • Reputation
  • Environmental destruction

"Far too many people are still killed on the job - 13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily.” said Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor. “These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires.”

Regulatory non-compliance continually proves to be expensive, time consuming, and potentially dangerous to employees, surrounding communities, and the long term viability of companies. An effective compliance management system, mitigation efforts, and employee training can result in an efficient and integrated program that optimizes safety and regulatory compliance while minimizing potential costs and downtime.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: OSHA, Regulatory Compliance

Improvised Planning Is Costly: 7 Regulatory Compliance Tracking Factors

Posted on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." - Epictetus

Despite best mitigation efforts, emergencies and disasters occur. Although emergency managers can relate to Epictetus’s antidote, it has been proven by the abundance of regulatory fines and fees that responses should not be improvised. Numerous government agencies require that responses be planned for, exercised, and compliant across multiple fronts.

While organizations may see compliance efforts as challenging, the purpose of regulations is to shape practices to limit harm and protect communities and the surrounding environment. However, every month, companies across the nation receive regulatory enforcement mandates.

Regulatory non-compliance is expensive, time consuming, and potentially dangerous to company employees and the surrounding communities. For example, a Seattle area marine terminal that transfers large quantities of ethanol fuel and grain from rail cars to tanker trucks was fined more than $420,000 by Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries for numerous non-compliance issues. Additionally, the agency placed an immediate order to restrain the company’s ethanol transfer operation because of inadequate emergency response planning. Compliance costs are typically lower than the expenditures associated with non-compliance fines, litigation, reputational risk, and government mandated shutdown of operations.

Many industrial facilities must comply with multiple regulations sanctioned by various government agencies. For example, one specific industrial facility in Louisiana has to meet as many as 700 individual requirements. In order to ensure optimal compliance capabilities, companies should have an effective compliance management process in place that can enhance efforts, and limit the potential for fines and operational downtime.

In recent years, advanced technology has allowed an increasing number of companies to automate emergency preparedness, response processes, as well as regulatory compliance. One of the most important aspects of maintaining compliance is ensuring that required response plan and associated revisions are submitted to the proper regulatory agencies in a timely manner. The various agencies have different submission requirements regarding initial and plan revision compliance.

A company must associate each regulatory requirement with applicable mandatory submission requirements and tasks for each facility. From a corporate standpoint, incorporating a regulatory requirements tracking system can ease the complicated exponential challenges associated with managing multiple regulatory requirements for numerous locations. A regulatory compliance tracking system can eliminate redundancies that typically occur across converging compliance specifications

A methodological tracking system should itemize applicable federal, state, and local regulations, and include categorical information that satisfies that regulation. A tracking system should, at a minimum, contain the following components:

  1. Operational categories: Categories can range from air quality and hazardous materials, to construction safety and general safety and health. Depending on the detail required by the regulations, further breakouts by subcategories may also be required.
  2. Applicable Regulation Level: Regulations should be further broken down to Federal, state or local regulation categories.
  3. Time/Date Stamping: The time and date that each regulation was last updated.
  4. Compliance Feedback: Applicable notes regarding compliance or non-compliance.
  5. Industry Standard: Apply best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
  6. Facility Compliance responsibility: Identify contact assigned to maintain compliance for each regulatory requirement.
  7. Action Item Reporting: Provides a list of outstanding and completed action items, along with due dates and person(s) assigned. Reports should have filters to customize queries as required by the users.
The results of an effective compliance tracking system is an efficient and integrated program that optimizes the efforts of all stakeholders and allows for optimum compliance.

Tags: Response Plans, Regulatory Compliance, Facility Management

EPA Fines Multiple Companies for SPCC Plan Violations

Posted on Thu, Aug 13, 2015

Multiple California companies are in non-compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulation. The agency recently announced a series of financial penalties totaling more than $140,000 from both large and small facilities.

The SPCC regulation was created under the Clean Water Act to prevent oil from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines, and to contain and respond to discharges of oil. It requires onshore oil storage facilities with identified capacities to develop and implement SPCC plans, identifying established procedures, methods, and equipment requirements to prevent and effectively respond to spills.

Under EPA’s Clean Water Act, facilities with aboveground storage tank capacities exceeding 1,320 gallons or underground tanks with capacities above 42,000 gallons, are required to comply with SPCC regulations.

“All companies who store oil must comply with federal standards. Facilities are required to prevent spills and be prepared to respond to a worst case oil discharge emergency," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Preventing spills and protecting our waterways from oil spills is essential.”

True_cost_of_incidentsWhile it is not possible for EPA to identify and inspect every SPCC facility, owners and operators need to be proactive in developing and maintaining accurate plans. Despite inspection probabilities, companies must prioritize regulatory compliance in order to minimize financial burdens resulting from fines, negative public perceptions, and potential government mandated shutdown of operations. Recent California SPCC violations include:

  • A waste oil recycler facility in Newark, CA was ordered to pay a $90,000 penalty for failing to provide secondary containment around an oil storage area; failing to secure and control access to oil handling, processing and storage areas; failing to use safe containers and good engineering practices, including liquid level alarms to avoid discharges; and failing to develop a complete Facility Response Plan.
  • A vegetable oil terminal operator and packaging facility in Fullerton, CA, was fined $45,000 by failing to update and recertify its spill prevention plan; failing to provide adequate oil containment and drainage controls; failing to ensure that the secondary containment walls of a tank farm could contain spilled oil; and failing to remove accumulations of oil outside tanks and piping, transfer areas and process area collection trenches.
  • A building materials company in Pittsburg, CA was fined $2,775 for failure to provide a proper spill prevention plan, implement tank inspection and integrity testing programs, and provide documentation of employee training.
  • A grease service and disposal service facility in Riverside, CA was fined $2,400 for failure to provide a proper SPCC plan, for storing oil in improper storage containers, and for failing to implement a tank integrity testing program to prevent releases.
  • A food products facility in La Mirada, Calif. was fined $2,250 for failure to provide a proper SPCC plan and have adequate secondary containment for vegetable oil storage tanks.
  • A grease service and disposal facility in Riverside, CA was fined $1,900 for failing to provide a proper SPCC plan, and complete inspection records, The facility also lacked an adequate tank integrity testing program and proper oil drum secondary containment. 

Managing SPCC plans and associated compliance can be achieved through a cohesive, yet site-specific, standardization of best practices. The 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. By utilizing available technology, companies can enhance accessibility, portability, and redundancy, and potentially ease communication barriers with responders and regulatory audits.


Tags: SPCC, EPA, Regulatory Compliance

Oil Prices, Facility Response Plan Compliance, and Corporate Shuffling

Posted on Thu, Jun 11, 2015

Historically, low oil prices have triggered energy sector consolidations, reorganizations, and liquidations. As the industry responds to plunging company profits, a wave of mergers and potential acquisitions may be on the horizon. Once again, the dynamic nature of the oil industry will require corporate emergency managers to re-evaluate their approach to emergency management and regulatory compliance.

When companies merge and facilities are acquired, a company-wide emergency management program must consolidate and verify the regulatory compliance and the accuracy of facility response plans. Companies undergoing corporate structural changes should perform gap analyses or audits to identify procedural, policy, or regulatory compliance deficiencies.

Integrating plans under one centralized format consolidates preparedness and response objectives. In company merger circumstances, this process requires clear, concise, and frequent communication among multiple parties. A cohesive team, in cooperation with facility managers, should manage the consolidation of emergency management practices. It is critical to define preparedness objectives, response roles, and responsibilities in order to eliminate ambiguity and confusion. Responsible parties must verify and apply data, site assessments, and personnel information into cohesive, compliant, and effective plans for the new enterprise.

The following fundamental preparedness and response questions may assist companies in unifying facilities into a compliant emergency management program. Determining site-specific information, possible mitigation efforts, and response capabilities can mobilize stakeholders to develop necessary and required response planning objectives. (Note: The questions below are meant to initialize conversations and should not be considered a thorough checklist for preparedness and response planning)

Who is assigned to an emergency response?
  • Identify Incident Commander for each location
  • Create or update Emergency Management Team organizational chart
  • Identify and verify Emergency Management Team activation measures
  • Create or update Emergency Management Team roles and responsibilities checklists

Does the facility have a compliant response plan?

  • Update necessary personnel, contact information, and notifications procedure
  • Perform a gap analysis of the current plan(s) against new operations, equipment, company policies, industry best practices, and applicable local and state regulations
  • Review agency approval and electronic submittal processes, and comply as necessary


What threats affect the facility or employees?

  • Perform a detailed hazard and risk analysis
  • Prioritize and carry out necessary mitigation measures
  • Verify or create response procedures for each identified threat
  • Identify the new process for incident documentation
  • Utilize appropriate ICS Forms
  • Identify current and/or necessary equipment necessary for response
  • Establish training and scenario-specific exercises to ensure process are responses are effective for identified threats/hazards

What regulatory requirements apply to each facility?

  • Evaluate all applicable regulations based on:
    • location
    • industry
    • operations
    • hazards
    • response specifics
  • Identify required training and implement compliant program
  • Review submitted response plan information
  • Confirm training and planning documentation
  • Perform plan(s) compliance audits

What is required for an effective and timely response?

  • Identify response capabilities and determine if additional resources are necessary
  • Initiate a Memorandum of Understanding or contract specific response needs
  • Confirm contact information, availability, and response times
How will an emergency be reported and response initiated?
  • Create site-specific notification procedures. (Emergency notifications may include 911, National Response Center, internal or external response team, emergency services, and others)
  • Test alarms to confirm they are in proper working condition
  • Ensure employees are trained in alarm procedures and immediate response actions per roles and responsibilities
  • Implement company approved emergency classification levels to associated response procedures with emergency conditions to prevent the incident from escalating
  • Create multiple evacuation routes
  • Identify the muster point(s) and head count procedures

How are response actions sustained?

  • Establish command post location
  • Identify internal and external response resources and equipment for necessary sustained response actions
  • Share plans with appropriate responders/stakeholders
  • Develop a communications plan and identify sustainable communications equipment
  • Identify hazard control applicability and methods
  • Detail external communications and public relations policies

What is done after the incident is secured?

  • Create checklist to demobilize the response
  • Identify post incident review and debriefing objectives
  • Generate a means to apply “lessons learned”
  • Update plan accordingly and amend necessary training

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp


Tags: Facility Response Plan, Regulatory Compliance, Facility Management

Enterprise-Wide Contingency Planning & Regulatory Compliance

Posted on Thu, May 07, 2015

Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs), or Emergency Response Plans, are often the centerpiece of a comprehensive emergency management program. EOPs should be flexible enough to be effective in a variety of emergency scenarios. However, many company emergency management programs, as well as specialized industrial facilities utilize an integrated contingency plan (ICP) to consolidate a variety of required site and response information.

An ICP is a comprehensive plan that documents necessary response actions, identifies the resources required to effectively manage potential hazards, and can fulfill compliance mandates for a variety of regulatory agencies.  ICPs enable facilities to comply with multiple federal planning requirements by consolidating them into one functional response plan.  Elements of an ICP will reflect the complexity of operations, response components, and required documentation. Depending upon the EOP’s structure and required content, hazard-specific information may be either included within an ICP or created as a separate stand-alone plan that can be distributed exclusively.

However, enterprise response planning with a variety of information into an ICP often becomes challenging when:

  • A company has multiple facilities utilizing multiple formats
  • The comprehensive plan format does not allow for the facility-specific information required for regulatory compliance
  • Plan updates result in “version confusion” or lack of data consistency
  • Known quantities of hazardous materials vary depending on operational status

An enterprise-wide template should serve as an outline for compliance required information, but should be populated with site-specific details. Utilizing a customizable, secure, web-based template with a database of common company planning information allows each site to provide facility-specific compliance data, as well as the precise information required to assist responders in determining the best response for the specific scenario.

With effective web-based formats and comprehensive, yet site-specific capability, emergency managers can;

  • Reduce the need for multiple plans
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Simplify plan reviews
  • Minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • Streamline response effort directives from one source
  • Simplify required distribution in a secured manner

ICPs do not exempt facilities from applicable regulatory planning requirements pertinent to releases of hazardous and non-hazardous substances. Companies must evaluate each site for applicable regulatory requirements. . Fortunately, multiple federal agencies endorse the use of an ICP as a means to incorporate response planning regulations, and simplify the complex planning process. An ICP may be used to incorporate one or more of the following applicable federal regulations:

  • Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation (SPCC and Facility Response Plan Requirements), 40 CFR part 112.7(d) and 112.20-.21
  •  RCRA (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.
  • RMP (Risk Management Programs), 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

While ICPs may simplify the planning process, many companies still choose to maintain separate plans. Stand-alone plans typically contain site-specific, unique response details that apply to a single hazard, such as pandemic, hurricane, fire, or hazardous spill. Procedural, tactical, and/or incident-specific action plans tend to be location-based and often highlight operational hazards, inherent threats, or response needs. These stand-alone plans are often shared with specialized local responders and/or regulatory agencies to address specific regulatory requirements, such as the EPA’s SPCC plans (spill prevention, control, and countermeasure). Other stand-alone plans may be developed for crisis management situations, security-related incidents, and/or business continuity scenarios.

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Pipeline, Facility Response Plan, Response Plans, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Response Planning