Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

How Leading Companies Address Complex Response Planning

Posted on Thu, May 04, 2017

Whether plans are mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, an effectively exercised and accessible emergency response plan can minimize impacts of an emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure. But when companies have multiple locations, each with site-specific risks and potential operational emergencies, how can corporate leaders know that response plans will be accessible, effective, timely and compliant?

Leading companies with multiple facilities are realizing that generic response planning templates often result in incomplete, ineffective, and non-regulatory compliant plans. As a result, web-based, database-driven software is gaining popularity as the practical solution for companies with complex preparedness obstacles. Advanced web-based software has been proven to streamline the challenges associated with multiple locations and regulatory requirements through a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.

In order to maintain company-wide preparedness and regulatory compliance, every response plan must contain accurate, site-specific details consistent with operations, personnel, topography, sensitivities, weather, and other factors. This complex arrangement of continually evolving information has led leading companies to leverage this technology and reap the benefits of web-based, enterprise-wide emergency management systems.

 

Emergency Management Systems

Leading companies are embracing comprehensive, web-based response plan templates with an integrated database that can capture site-specific details for each location. With these systems, 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

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Web-Based System Benefits

Maintaining accurate details across multiple plan types for a large number of facilities is a challenge, especially when there is limited personnel. Intuitive response planning systems that streamline formats, and utilize database technology to leverage and manage information offer tremendous benefits in improving compliance and preparedness. The most advanced systems are specifically designed to improve the following:

Efficiency:  Effective response plans require cyclical maintenance. As a result of changing personnel, fluctuating external response contacts, and revolving equipment availability and inventory levels, maintaining up-to-date and actionable response plans can be administratively time-consuming. Emergency management software should eliminate the need for duplicate updates across multiple response plans. The most advanced web-based software programs utilize a database, allowing for specific repetitive information to be duplicated in the various necessary plan types across an entire enterprise. By minimizing administratively tasking duties, plan changes are more likely to be transferred into the system, optimizing the accuracy of the plans.

Accessibility of plans: In the event of an emergency, updated paper plans are typically not available from all company locations. Additionally, accessing plans housed on a company intranet may be dubious if an incident renders company servers inaccessible.  Although the intranet approach has improved overall plan accessibility, a number of significant difficulties remain. With an intranet approach, plan maintenance, version control, and consistency across multiple plans remain challenging and time-consuming.

Web-based planning software offers every option of instant accessibility: viewed via the Internet from any location, downloaded, or printed. Increasing accessibility options while improving efficiency, functionality, and effectiveness can bolster an entire emergency management program.

Instantaneous updates: With web-based technology and an Internet connection, revised information is immediately available to all approved stakeholders. Both paper-based plans and those housed on a company intranet are often out of date with multiple versions in various locations, potentially misinforming the response team.  Microsoft Word or PDF documents, often the format used in response plans, are cumbersome to revise for various plan types and locations. Web-based systems can eliminate ”version-confusion” and allows responders to apply the most up-to-date and tested processes to a response.

Superior functionality: Web-based plans can provide hyperlinks, forms libraries, simplified interfaces, and other tools designed to improve functionality for plan users. Simplifying documentation during an incident enables prompt response progress, improved regulatory compliance, and a more accurate account of the response. Easy to follow response plans allow responders to carry out specified industry and company procedures in accordance with proven best practices responses.

Multi-purpose data: Typically, response plans share common data with a variety of additional plan types including business continuity, pre-fire plans, hurricane plans, and others. Web-based, database driven plans utilize one database to manage this information, effectively leveraging plan content and revision efforts to all plans and locations that utilize that data.

If best practices are implemented, and training and exercises confirm effective response processes and procedures are in place, response plans can be an effective tool for responders. However, leading companies utilizing web-based, database software are recognizing that swift accessibility to plans with an accurate list of contacts, site-specific response procedures, and available resources, expedite the response process and minimizing impacts across the board.

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Tags: Response Plans, Cloud Computing, Regulatory Compliance

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

Posted on Thu, Mar 09, 2017

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

 

"It Won’t Happen Here"

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

  1. Site Analysis
  • Identify existing and potential site hazards through employee feedback, audits, and detailed inspections.
  1. Task Analysis
  • Determine job specific methods and procedures for each employee’s duty to reduce or eliminate associated hazards.
  • Review and update methods and procedure when an incident occurs, job responsibilities change, or if hazards are identified through analysis.
  1. Risk Analysis
  • Establish risk evaluation criteria, probability of incident, and potential consequences.
  • Monitor and review procedures for continuous improvement, effectiveness, control measures and changed conditions.

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

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

 

The Response Plan

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

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

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A Plan for Every Site

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

An enterprise-wide response planning system should:

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

 

Don’t be a Statistic 

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

 

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

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

Response Plan Compliance Tracking and Submission

Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

Regulatory Compliance is Not Optional

Month after month, companies are reminded through assessed fines and mandated enforcements that regulatory compliance is not optional. In August 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled with an oil and gas equipment company for hazardous waste violations at five Texas facilities. The company was assessed a penalty of $237,980 for violations regarding improperly generating, transporting and disposing of hazardous waste.

These types of cases are not restricted to one industry. If regulations apply to operations, non-compliance fines can be assessed. The most widely applicable regulations to industrial companies are those under the realm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

 

Typical Industrial Requirements

Below are a sample of the EPA requirements that may be applicable to industrial operations:

  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) - Permitting program designed to control water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.
  • Facility Response Plan (FRP) - Requires an owner or operator of a facility that could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging oil into or on the navigable waters or adjoining shorelines to prepare and submit a facility response plan.
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) - The primary governing law that oversees the generation and containment of solid and hazardous waste.
  • Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC) – Requires developing site specific plans for oil storage facilities that describe spill prevention and response procedures.
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know (EPCRA) - Establishes requirements for federal, state and local governments, Indian tribes, and industry regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals to enable a more effective emergency response planning process.

 

Response Plan Submissions

A simplified regulatory submission process is highly beneficial when companies have multiple facilities in various locations. Despite similar operations within the same industry, each site may need to comply with specific local, state, and/or federal regulatory mandates. Companies should have a systematic method to itemize these varied regulations and include categorical information that satisfies that regulation. Implementing a web-based planning system with a regulatory tracking element can eliminate redundancies across converging compliance requirements and minimize dedicated administrative time.

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Compliance Tracking System

Using database technology allows association of each regulatory requirement to applicable facilities. Additionally, updating evolving regulatory information can be effectively managed across multiple facilities with the use of a database. At a minimum, a web-based tracking system should contain the following components:

  • Operational Category: 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 subcategories may be utilized.
  • Applicable Regulation Level: Regulations should be further broken down to federal, state or local regulation categories. 
  • Update History: Date that each regulation was last updated.
  • Compliance Task: Tasks that needs to be completed for compliance.
  • Compliance Feedback: Applicable notes.
  • Industry Standard: Industry standards or best practices that apply to the specific -regulatory requirement.
  • Cross-reference: Itemized list of additional regulations that may be applicable to the information provided.
  • Facility Compliance Responsibility: Person(s) responsible to maintain compliance for each regulatory requirement.
  • Action Item Reporting: Provides a list of outstanding and completed action items, along with due dates and persons assigned. Reports should have filters to customize queries as required by the users.

The ability to track company-wide compliance and streamline the regulatory submission process is administratively advantageous for the individual company, as well as the multiple regulatory agencies. With required response plans in an easy to use electronic format, companies can ensure compliance and easily adhere to new, and future regulatory submission policies.

To receive your free white paper on Response Planning for Large Organizatiojns, click the image below:

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Tags: Response Plans, Regulatory Compliance

OSHA's Emergency Action Plan: Commercial Property and Building Owners

Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2016

As of August 2, 2016, fines and penalties for OSHA violations have increased. Commercial property and building owners must comply with relevant Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations in order to avoid the increasing non-compliance expenses. Many owners see the cost to initiate, upgrade, and/or maintain a preparedness program as a superfluous expenditure. However, proactive budgeting in comparison to the cost of lives, hazardous impacts, property damage, and regulatory fines, is minimal.

According to the 2016 OSHA Field Operations Manual, any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates regulations may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $124,709 for each violation, but not less than $8,908 for each willful violation. For a company with multiple sites, the exponential violation cost could be staggering and financially crippling.

In order to minimize non-compliance, commercial property and building owners should identify potential emergency scenarios and necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP). An EAP should be part of an overall emergency management program, elevate the state of response awareness, and create an atmosphere of response readiness. Each plan should identify site-specific actions by employers, employees, or other building occupants to ensure safety from fire emergencies and other potentially devastating scenarios.

In order to minimize life threatening impacts, OSHA has identified requirements for the development of site-specific EAPs for certain employers and their work sites. OSHA requires a verbal or written EAP based on the number of employees that are physically present in a facility at any time of the working day.

The regulation (29 CFR 1910.38), states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written emergency action plan. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An EAP must communicate the following minimum requirements:

  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures, including exit route assignment
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

Building owners should not limit response planning to fire emergencies, but consider an all-hazard approach when developing EAPs. Any scenarios that could impact the safety of building occupants should be planned and documented in advance. These scenarios may include, but are not limited to:

Human-caused threats

  • Bombs and bomb threats
  • Weapons of mass destruction
    • Chemical
    • Biological
    • Radiological/nuclear
  • Workplace violence

Building and infrastructure incidents

  • Building system failures
  • Elevators
  • Emergency power systems
  • Flooded areas
  • Medical emergency
  • Utility disruptions
  • Adjacent building fire

Location-specific natural disasters

  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Tsunamis

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Building owners, tenants, and response personnel should coordinate and ensure efficient evacuation procedures are in place for all occupants, including those with disabilities. The EAP should account for:

  • Mobility impairments
  • Wheelchair users
  • Ambulatory mobility disabilities
  • Respiratory impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Speech impairments
  • Cognitive impairments

Depending on the characteristics of the building and inherent functions of the occupants, building owners’ preparedness programs may consist of the required Emergency Action Plans, as well as additional plan types such as a Fire Pre Plans, and/or Hazardous Waste Operations plans. Any building response plan should be shared with local responders and include the following site-specific information:

  • Building description
  • Owner/Manager contact information
  • Emergency Assembly Point details
  • Internal and/or external emergency personnel information and contact details
  • Specific hazard details and associated safety data sheets
  • Utility shut-off locations and descriptions
  • Alarm(s) description
  • Emergency equipment inventory and locations
  • Plot plan(s) and floor plan(s)
  • Risk, site and task identified situational checklists and job specific procedures

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

 

Tags: Response Plans, Emergency Action Plan, Office Building

Tips for a Company-Wide Response Planning Review

Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2016

Terrorism, cyber-attacks, and natural disasters continue to impact companies around the globe at seemingly extraordinary rates. As these threats become increasingly complex and company profiles include intricate networks of technology, human resources, and global influences, corporate preparedness programs and applicable response plans need to be reviewed and tested for effectiveness and accuracy.

A thorough review should include information gathering regarding potential risks and threats to operations, as well as the status of current response plans, response competencies, and applicable regulatory requirements. It is critical to analyze various risks, threats, and on-site emergency response capabilities, as they are essential for responsible preparedness and core components of response plans.

 

Preparedness Documentation Review

While each facility has unique response planning needs and capabilities, the following general preparedness documentation, if applicable, should be reviewed and tested in relation to the identified site-specific threats:

  • Safety and health procedures
  • Environmental policies
  • Security procedures
  • Finance and purchasing procedures
  • Mutual aid agreements
  • Communication policy
  • Employee training manuals
  • Hazardous materials information
  • Business Continuity Plan
  • Risk management Plan
  • Hurricane/Tornado/Flood Plans
  • Evacuation Plan
  • Fire Pre-Plan

 

Collaborative Response Review

The review of company response plans should include debriefings with collaborative response entities. Meetings with these outside responders should confirm specific plan and response procedures details that can be carried out in accordance with collective best practices and company protocols. Groups to consider in planning reviews include, but are not limited to:

  • Local responders (fire, police, emergency medical services, etc.)
  • Government agencies (LEPC, Emergency Management Offices, etc.)
  • Community organizations (Red Cross, weather services, etc.)
  • Utility Company(s) (gas, electric, public works, telephone, etc.)
  • Contracted Emergency Responders
  • Neighboring Businesses

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Response Plan Review

Response plans must serve site-specific preparedness measures and meet precise planning objectives in order to be relevant and effective. Below is a list of basic response planning components that should be included in the preparedness review. These planning components should must be reviewed, confirmed, and updated as necessary in order for each facility to meet response objectives associated with each potential threat, risk or emergency scenario:

  • Site-specific response procedures
  • Response team frameworks and assigned personnel to fill primary and alternate roles
  • Effectiveness of notification and emergency response team activation procedures.
  • Communication procedures
  • Primary and alternate Emergency Operations Center location
  • Necessary response equipment
  • Response team and personnel response training
  • Mitigation procedures and protective actions to safeguard the health and safety of on-site personnel and nearby communities
  • Availability of responders and supply chain resources
  • Regulatory compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal requirements for environmental hazards, response plans, and training
  • Best practices and lessons learned integration from past training and exercises, actual emergencies, and incident reviews

 

Crisis Management Plan Review

As new vulnerabilities evolve and risk potentials unfold, every effort should be made to include crisis management response processes and procedures to the most likely emergency scenarios relevant to your site. A Crisis Management Plan (CMP) can minimize the escalation effect; such as a company’s short and long-term reputation, adverse financial performance, and overall impingement of company longevity. The associated level of preparedness may mean the difference between a crisis averted and an exhaustive corporate disaster.

The following concepts should be utilized when developing CMP:

PREDICT: Identify all potential threats to “business as usual” operations.
PREVENT: Take preventive measures to avert emergency situations and establish necessary communications platforms. This also includes generating effective response procedures and recovery processes for a variety of potential threats in order to minimize the extent of impacts.
PLAN: Prepare a plan for responding to all internal and external aspects of the crisis. This may include identifying and communicating with media and all audiences that may be affected by each crisis situation.
PERSEVERE: Follow your tested plan and be flexible if circumstances require additional support. Be sure to communicate ongoing activities to inform employees, stakeholders, and the public. Proactive efforts, honesty, empathy, and preparedness will assist in maintaining company viability and reputation.

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Response Plans, Crisis Management

The Evolution of Response Planning - The TRP Story

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

Technical Response Planning Corporation (TRP) staff recently sat down with its Founder and President, Steve Bassine, to discuss the company’s origins, its evolution, and the response to the ever changing demands of corporate preparedness and response planning.

After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, Bassine began his career as a Project Engineer for Exxon’s South Texas Production Division in Corpus Christi, TX. It was in this first job that Bassine learned the importance of effective communication. “My role was ten percent engineering and 90 percent written and verbal communications.” While college prepared Bassine with a deep understanding of engineering concepts and principles, and provided the foundation to broaden his knowledge of oil and gas production, equipment and processing, regulatory compliance, and onshore and offshore operations, he discovered that fine-tuning his written, verbal, and decision-making skills were needed in order to be an effective project manager and future entrepreneur.

After the oil slump of the late 1980’s halted Bassine’s initial entrepreneurial aspirations, he accepted a job with a consulting firm that specialized in oil spill response planning. His immersive corporate and field experience with Exxon coupled with a practical expertise in response planning prompted Bassine to explore simplified preparedness processes.  “I knew there were better ways of doing things, and I needed the freedom to try them,” said Bassine.

In 1995, Bassine founded TRP in an effort to provide innovative response planning practices that simplified preparedness complexities for companies with large operations. “We were working hard to meet Client expectations, and stretching ourselves to find a better way to deliver response plans.” Two years later, the company pioneered industry’s first "electronic plan”, as well as graphical one-page response plans for fire pre-plans, oil spill tactical plans, and spill prevention plans. Bassine proved that these new techniques could be utilized to streamline complex preparedness and response planning processes, a great improvement to the static, paper-based response planning methods of the past.

Bassine continued to push the envelope of response planning innovation with the development of TRP’s first web-based response plans in 2001. “The availability of the Internet, reliance on and better understanding of computers and software, and the emergence of a tech-savvy workforce accelerated the understanding and acceptance of TRP’s approach.” At the time, web-based response plans were a new and unfamiliar concept. “Many companies were reluctant to be the first to commit,” said Bassine, “But today an overwhelming majority of companies are eager to embrace technology in order to help them solve their problems.”

Since 2001, the rapid acceptance of technology has continued to raise expectations for more robust, yet user-friendly functionality. Bassine made it a priority to align emerging technologies, societal behaviors, and client feedback with groundbreaking response planning platforms. The result was a proprietary response planning technology that eliminated redundant planning efforts while reducing errors, version confusion, and regulatory non-compliance. “We are always looking for better, more efficient ways of doing things, and for more user-friendly functionality. This, coupled with frequent feedback from clients and new prospects helps us keep abreast of new technology.”

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But after more than 20 years in the industry, Bassine says many companies are still challenged with preparedness, response planning, and enterprise-wide regulatory compliance issues. “The cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry and the difficulties of managing response plans for large operations are still relevant.” The TRP founder believes that the challenges have continued to increase over the years due to elevated scrutiny from regulatory agencies and the public, heightened profit/loss pressures, and the constant change of company structure, ownership, and staffing.

In a continual effort to simplify company-wide response planning, TRP released its SMARTPLAN™ software in 2015, which enables companies to do more with less resources. Companies utilizing this latest system can now revise content for multiple plans quickly, track revisions, print plans, manage contacts, and so much more. “Our latest technology reduces administrative efforts, eliminates the need to manage mountains of paper-based response plans and hundreds of Microsoft Word files, and provides a platform that facilitates more rapid and cost-effective upgrades. This leaves more time for our Clients to focus on strategic initiatives and provides assurances that our technology will continue to evolve.”

Incorporating technology for the sake of upgrading can often be costly, time consuming, and counterproductive. However, technology that provides innovative solutions to the challenges associated with preparedness, response planning, and regulatory compliance is highly advantageous in the emergency management realm. As TRP continues to fine-tune technologies and adapt systems to the needs of the consumer, they are setting a new standard for “Best Practices” in response planning software. With new response planning challenges continually arising, TRP solutions will continue to evolve to provide solutions to the ever-changing demands of preparedness and response planning.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Response Plans

Corporate Response Planning and Response-Ability

Posted on Thu, May 05, 2016

Companies must proactively affirm their responsibility to ensure the safety of employees, the environment, and the surrounding communities by prioritizing a corporate emergency management program. Through targeted response planning, mitigation efforts, and overall preparedness initiatives, companies can validate their commitment to address impactful emergency situations, and set an example for staff, industrial counterparts, and the surrounding communities.

Collaboration and coordination are crucial elements of response planning and corporate responsibility. In order to fulfill these critical corporate emergency management elements, managers should:

  • Obtain and foster leadership commitment from all response disciplines (Incident Response Team, EMS, Fire, and Police Departments)
  • Ensure collaboration and coordination efforts are included in response plan processes and procedures
  • Interface with local leadership to ensure community awareness and resource support
    Establish relationship sustainability with all stakeholders through ongoing communications
  • Plan and budget for ongoing updates to emergency management systems, procedures, and documentation

Whether response planning is mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, advancing preparedness and fulfilling a responsibility to employees and the community must be a priority. As a result, companies should, at a minimum, examine the following emergency management planning elements to incorporate site-specific details:

Public and Private Services and Resources: Emergency managers should continually meet with government agencies, community organizations, and utility companies throughout the entire planning cycle to discuss likely emergencies and the available resources. During a response, these entities can provide services necessary to minimize the effects of the incident and allow for a more timely response.

Health, Safety, and Environmental Response: Personnel, contractors, and additional response team members must be aware of their predefined roles, responsibilities, and assignments. By identifying specific personnel training needs and responder capabilities, all potential hazards should be accounted for in order to support a cohesive and effective response.

Operational Communications: Communicating timely and accurate information to/among facility managers, critical decision makers, emergency response teams, stakeholders, vendors and contractors, and the public is an important element to any emergency management function. From notification to demobilization, steady correspondence in conjunction with commonly understood terminology is essential for clear communication. An effective response relies heavily on the ability to put forth effective communications.

Situational Assessments and Strategic Responses: Improving reactive decision management, timely communications, and swift implementation of response strategies can minimize the resulting effects of an emergency situation. Continual tactical discussions should reveal situational details that enable response strategies to be implemented or altered. Situational assessments are crucial to the decision-making process regarding lifesaving and life sustaining activities, as well as identifying resources necessary to procure incident stabilization and meet basic human needs.

Mass Health Care, Search Assistance, and Rescue Operations: Broadening the scope of response expertise can greatly benefit a facility. Local agencies, health care providers, and specialized contractors may provide additional response knowledge based on particular research, experiences, or occupational training in a particular area of study. Establishing relationships and memorandums of understanding with assisting entities allows all parties a comprehensive understanding of response capabilities and the potential needs of the community and response team.

Critical Transportation: Plot plans, evacuation maps, and tactical planning details allow for site specific information regarding transportation interests and directional awareness. Identifying adequate access and egress points at the facility and potential response location(s) allows responders to minimize response time.

On-scene Security and Protection: Due to increased public attention and on-site population created at disaster locations, preparing for and responding with additional security measures should be part of the emergency management processes. Response security protocols should be reviewed to educate security personnel on roles and responsibilities, and inform responders of potential security measures. Such exercises can strengthen security awareness and reduce the potential for added security-related incidents.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: Response Plans

Establishing a Culture of Preparedness and Safety in Manufacturing

Posted on Thu, Feb 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hazard and threats assessment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Response Plans, manufacturing

The Corporate Incident Response Process and Action Plan

Posted on Thu, Oct 08, 2015

From the moment an incident is discovered, the response process begins. Effective corporate preparedness campaigns and exercised response plans lay the procedural foundation of information gathering, initial assessment, response coordination, and documentation management. Short-term responses, small in scope and/or duration, can often be coordinated using only ICS Form 201 documentation, the Incident Briefing form. However, longer-term, more complex responses, will likely require use of the entire planning cycle, many of the ICS Forms, and multiple operational periods.

It is critical that companies test small and large scale incident responses to ensure employees are familiar with their roles, responsibilities, and the overall response process. Planning efforts also must identify incident priorities, align resources, and assure proper communications to ensure an effective and timely response. The standard response planning cycle is as follows:

The Response Process 

1. Initial Response Actions, including notifications
2. Activation and staffing the Emergency Response Organization
3. Incident Planning/Documentation; Meeting Cycle includes:

  • Assessment
    • State incident objectives and policy issues.
    • Identify the situation and subsequent critical and sensitive areas, weather/sea forecast, resource status/availability.
  • Planning
    • Identify primary and alternative strategies to meet objectives.
    • Specify tactics for each Division, note limitations.
    • Specify resources needed by Divisions/Groups.
    • Specify operations facilities and reporting locations (plot on map)
    • Develop resources, support, and overhead order(s).
    • Consider support issues and agree on plans: communications, safety, medical, security, etc.
  • Incident Action Plan (IAP)
    • Develop draft IAP
    • Finalize, and approve IAP for next operational period.
  • Operational briefings

4. Demobilization/Post Incident Review

In the event of a prolonged and a potentially multi-disciplinary response, Incident Commanders can utilize an IAP to develop updated and pertinent objectives, priorities, and strategies for each operational period. IAPs contain general tactics to achieve goals and objectives within the overall strategy, while providing important documented information on event and response parameters. Because incidents evolve, IAPs must be revised on a regular basis (at least once per operational period)

The following should be considered in an Incident Action Plan:

Operational Period Goals and Objectives:

  • Must address any open agenda items from previous or initial operational period.
  • Must be attainable given the people, equipment, and supplies available during that operations shift.
  • Must be broad and flexible enough for the Incident Management Team to adapt to an evolving situation.

Response Strategy:

  • Develop primary and alternative strategies, specific response methods, and pertinent procedures to achieve the goals and objectives.
  • Establish priorities of tactics in order to accomplish goals and objectives.
  • Prepare an ICS 215 to identify required resources.
  • Identify primary roles, responsibilities and assign specific tasks

Assessments:

  • Critical situational updates
  • Detail resource status updates
  • Equipment status updates

Depending on the specifics of the incident, the following ICS forms may be used to document operational details, objectives, priorities, or strategies for each operational period.

INCIDENT ACTION PLAN (IAP) COVER SHEET: Provides initial response information, signature approval, and table of contents of the IAP.
INCIDENT OBJECTIVES: ICS 202: Provides weather and tide information, as well as basic incident strategy, control objectives, and safety considerations.
ORGANIZATION ASSIGNMENT LIST: ICS 203: Provides information on the units activated, and the names of personnel staffing each position/unit.
ASSIGNMENT LIST: ICS 204: Identifies Division and Group assignments.
COMMUNICATIONS PLAN: ICS 205: Provides radio frequency assignments..
MEDICAL PLAN: ICS 206Provides details on how medical services will be provided, including medical aid stations, transportation services, hospitals, and medical emergency procedures.
INCIDENT STATUS SUMMARY - ICS 209: Provides response status information. It is typically not included in within the IAP.

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Incident Action Plan, Response Plans

Tips for Merging Response Plan Templates and ICS

Posted on Thu, Sep 10, 2015

Response planning is a multi-faceted entity, composed of critical information, procedural comprehension, and response process awareness. Two contributors to effective preparedness comes from the site-specific information within the plans and a standardized response management process by which procedures are carried out. The two concepts, site-specific and standardization, may appear to contradict each other. However when merged properly, companies can strengthen preparedness initiatives and enable a flexible, effective, efficient, and all-hazards incident management response.

By integrating up-to-date, site-specific response plans, company EHS protocols, and Incident Command System (ICS) components, response operations can be streamlined and coherent without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. Utilizing ICS in conjunction with site-specific plans can also consolidate an effective response that includes multiple combinations of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communication methods.

However, when companies implement or utilize a basic template approach without consideration of site-specific details, the result is often an incomplete, ineffective, and non-regulatory compliant plan. In addition, implementing an incident command approach without site-specific information often results in inadequate and prolonged responses.

By utilizing a template as an outline, companies can begin the process of creating response plans. Companies may consider web-based technology to streamline template formats across an enterprise. A generic plan template may not address every regulatory and/or site specification, so it is essential to evaluate site-specific variables and applicable regulatory requirements. If templates are tied to a web-based database, site-specific information can often be cross references with regulatory requirements. As facilities are added or renovated, operations are revised, or employees revolve, each web-based plan can be conveniently accessed and updated for accuracy and compliance.

Below are twelve basic template topics that should be evaluated for site specific applicability and implementation.

  1. Laws and regulating authorities
  2. Hazard identification and risk assessment
  3. Hazard mitigation procedures
  4. Resource management
  5. Response direction, control, and coordination
  6. Notifications and warning systems
  7. Operations and safety procedures
  8. Logistics and facilities infrastructure specifics
  9. Training
  10. Exercises, evaluations, and corrective actions
  11. Crisis communications
  12. Finance and administrative duties

Once site specifications and regulatory requirements are identified, plans should be formatted within a common and unified incident planning organizational structure. The structure is based on a set of essential features that apply to the management of any incident or all-hazards events. Features included in ICS are:

  1. Common terminology - use of similar terms and definitions for resource descriptions, organizational functions, and incident facilities across disciplines
  2. Modular organization - response resources are organized according to their responsibilities. Assets within each functional unit may be expanded or contracted based on the requirements of the event.
  3. Management by objectives - specific, measurable objectives for various incident management functional activities and direct efforts to attain them. Planning should allow for a timely response, documentation of the results, and a way to facilitate corrective actions.
  4. Incident action planning - Incident Action Plans (IAPs) guide response activities, and provide a concise means of capturing and communicating a company’s incident priorities, objectives, strategies, protocol, and tactics in the contexts of both operational and support activities.
  5. Manageable span of control - response organization is structured so that each supervisory level oversees an appropriate number of assets (varies based on size and complexity of the event) so it can maintain effective supervision.
  6. Pre-designated incident facilities - assignment of locations where expected incident-related functions will occur.
  7. Comprehensive resource management - systems in place to describe, maintain, identify, request, and track resources.
  8. Integrated communications - ability to send and receive information within an organization, as well as externally to other disciplines.
  9. Consolidated action plans - a single, formal documentation of incident goals, objectives, and strategies defined by unified incident command.
  10. Establishment and transfer of command - Clearly identify and establish the command function from the beginning of incident operations. If command is transferred during an incident response, a comprehensive briefing should capture essential information for continuing safe and effective operations.
  11. Chain of command and unity of command - Identify clear responsible parties and reporting relationships
  12. Unified command structure - multiple disciplines work through their designated managers to establish common objectives and strategies to prevent conflict or duplication of effort.
  13. Accountability - Develop process and procedures to ensure resource accountability including: check-in/check-out, Incident Action Planning, unity of command, personal responsibility, span of control, and resource tracking.
  14. Dispatch/deployment - Limit overloading response resources by enforcing a “response only when requested or dispatched” process in established resource management systems.
  15. Information and intelligence management - The incident management organization must establish a process for gathering, analyzing, assessing, sharing, and managing incident-related information and intelligence.

Once the initial response plan is completed, plan audits, exercises, expert assistance, and/or consultation services may be required to confirm plan compliance and effectiveness.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Response Plans, Incident Management, ICS, Emergency Response Planning