Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Maximizing Hazardous Material Railway Safety Through Planning Efforts

Posted on Mon, Sep 16, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Five Reasons to Utilize Emergency Management Software

Posted on Thu, Aug 15, 2013

Companies need an enterprise-wide, universally accessible emergency response planning system capable of adapting to every site, regulatory requirement, and plan type. Incorporating a definitive company emergency management system across an enterprise allows for a streamlined and familiar response process. 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. The benefits of web-based emergency management systems are:

1. 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. 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.

2. 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 system 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.

3. 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 software eliminates” version confusion” and allows responders to apply the most up-to-date and tested processes to a response.

4. 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.

5. 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 utilizing web-based, database software allows registered users to swiftly and accurately identify confirmed response contacts, response procedures, and available resources, expediting the response and minimizing impacts.

Resource management is a key practice in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Web-based software streamlines the resource data incorporated into a response plan allowing NIMS components to be utilized more effectively. NIMS resource management includes:

  • Resource identification: Integrated data allows for all resources to be quantified.
  • Procurement: Through automated contact verification systems, the process of procuring resources is simplified. Accurate contacts, contact numbers, and resource lead times have already been confirmed.
  • Mobilization:  Plan transportation and logistics needs easily identified based on response priorities
  • Track and report:  Web-base response software’s links and forms database allows for easy resource reporting and documentation. Real-time incident management systems can ensure efficient use, coordination, and movement of equipment.
  • Recover and demobilize: Accurate data allocation ensures timely demobilization of equipment, including decontamination, disposal, repair, and restocking activities, as required.
  • Reimburse:  Web-based software contains documentation measures that assisting in tracking costs. This allows for accurate allocations of incident expenses, including contractors, equipment, transportation services, and other costs.
  • Inventory and replenishments: Resource data contained within the web-based software can be utilized to inventory response requirements or site equipment. This feature streamlines the ability to assess the availability of on-site equipment and supplies and determine external resource levels.
For an introduction to web-based planning click HERE:

 

Tags: Data Recovery, Redundant Systems, Cloud Computing, Emergency Response Planning, Data Backup, Safety

Ten Free Safety Training Videos to Bolster Emergency Management

Posted on Thu, Aug 01, 2013

Companies often use safety-training videos to supplement required safety measures for specific industries, roles, or equipment usage.

Many large companies produce their own training videos to ensure materials are aligned with company policy and site-specific regulatory requirements. Additionally, there are an abundance of private companies that offer fee-based safety videos based on individual subjects and/or agency regulatory requirements. While the content and effectiveness of these videos are typically professionally produced, references, applicability, and accuracy should always be reviewed before purchasing and presenting the information to employees.

However, there are many free and educational safety videos available. As with any free safety resource available on the Internet, information should always be verified for accuracy. Unless specified from regulatory agencies, these videos are meant to supplement training, not replace site-specific mandated training.

Below is a sampling of free videos available to supplement safety training. Note: Questions and comments on particular free safety videos should be directed to the website (or author) who created it.

1. Hands-only CPR training video:  A study published in the March 8 issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes showed that people who view a CPR instructional video are significantly more likely to attempt life-saving efforts. The American Heart Association produced the “Hand-only” video because nearly 89% of people who suffer an out-of hospital cardiac arrest die because they do not receive an immediate form of CPR. Nearly 70% of Americans do not know how to administer CPR.

2. Emergency Evacuation: What Every Employee Should Know : Highlights the need to become familiar with emergency evacuation plan and egress routes and general evacuation procedures.

3. How to Use a Portable Fire Extinguisher Training Video: This video was created by the Fire Equipment Manufacturers' Association to train viewers on how to assess a potential fire situation and use a portable fire extinguisher in the event of a fire emergency.

4. Fire Alarm Evacuation: Developed by Austin Community College, this video demonstrates potential behaviors after a fire alarm is sounded, and highlights the proper actions employees should take if evacuation is ordered.

5. RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event: Engaging and realistic video set in an office building that provides guidance on how to survive an office 'active shooter'.

6. Oil Spill 101: Blocking with boom: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration video demonstrating how boom contains an oil spill. It discusses the four main types of boom used, hard boom, fire boom, sorbent boom, and snare boom.

7. Incident Command System: Positions & Responsibilities:: This video highlights the roles and responsibilities of key positions within the Incident Command System. Although this video uses a hospital as a backdrop to the scenarios, the general ICS positions should be applicable to any industry.

8. OSHA Construction Hazard Prevention videos: This series of videos are based on actual work site incidences that resulted in an employee injury or death. Corrective actions for preventing these types of accidents are discussed.

9. Hot Works: US Chemical Safety Board discusses hidden hazards of Hot Works through examination of specific incidents. This video, in conjunction with Seven Key Lessons to Prevent Worker Deaths During Hot Work In and Around Tanks, details causes of incidents at various facilities and identifies lessons learned.

10. Safety Glasses Saves Lives: True and engaging story of how wearing safety glasses saved a man’s life.

Emergency management is a dynamic process requiring continuous efforts. Effective response planning, training, drills, equipment testing, and coordination with the community are instrumental for any emergency preparedness program.

For a free download on utilizing best practices in designing a crisis management program, click the image below.

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Training and Exercises, Safety, Workplace Safety, Workplace Violence, Virtualization

Safety Training Through HAZWOPER Certification

Posted on Thu, Jul 25, 2013

America’s largest retail store was recently fined $81 million for improper handling of hazardous wastes and pesticides. The chain did not have a store level safety program in place to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices. As a result, hazardous wastes were transported without proper documentation or improperly discarded, including being put into municipal trash bins or poured into the local sewer system.

From manufacturing facilities to store fronts, hazardous substances can be found in an array of company locations. Facility safety training should incorporate processes and procedures applicable to hazardous material interactions and disposal. Unless handled by training individuals and disposed of properly, hazardous material can create health risks for people and damage the environment.

If a site houses hazardous material, HAZWOPER training may be necessary. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain -Online Training.

There are various Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) training levels of HAZWOPER that are commensurate with the type of work and the potential involvement with hazardous materials. The following two levels of HAZWOPER training apply to employees that will not assume the aggressive role of attempting to plug, patch, or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance.

HAZWOPER training - TRP

Awareness Level

According to OSHA, the first responders at the “awareness level” must demonstrate competency in areas such as recognizing the presence of hazardous materials in an emergency, the risks involved, and the role they play in their employer’s plan.

This level is applicable for persons who, in the course of their normal duties, could be the first on the scene of an emergency involving hazardous materials. Responders at the awareness level are expected to recognize the presence of hazardous materials, protect themselves, call for trained personnel, and secure the area without engagement.

Individual companies can set their own hourly training requirements, however, employees must be capable of demonstrating the following:

  • Understanding what a hazardous substance is, and associated risks
  • Understanding potential outcomes associated with an emergency involving hazardous substances
  • Ability to recognize the presence of hazardous substances during  an emergency
  • Ability to identify the hazardous substances, if possible
  • Understanding the role of the first responder awareness individual in the employer's emergency response plan, including site security and control and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Emergency Response Guidebook
  • Ability to recognize the need to make appropriate notifications for additional resources

Operations Level

Operations level responders meet and exceed the competency level of the awareness responder. Operational responders are trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to terminate the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures.

These trained responders are part of the initial response to the incident for the purpose of protecting nearby persons, the environment, and/or property from the effects of the release. Operations may receive additional training in HAZMAT/CBRNE defensive techniques of absorption, damming and diking, diverting, retention, vapor dispersion and suppression. They may also train in basic decontamination procedures and PPE.

First responders at the operational level should complete the 8-hour HAZWOPER training course or sufficient experience to objectively demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  • Basic hazard and risk assessment techniques
  • Selection and use of proper personal protective equipment provided to the first responder operational level
  • Basic hazardous materials terms
  • Basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of available resources and personal protective equipment
  •  Implementation of basic decontamination procedures
  • Relevant standard operating and termination procedures
TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, OSHA, Training and Exercises, Safety, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training

Objective Internal Training Audits are Vital to EHS Priorities

Posted on Thu, Jul 18, 2013

An effective training program that includes properly trained personnel, corporate guidance, and systematic oversight helps ensure regulatory compliance. Because properly trained personnel are vital to operations and safety, companies need to perform overall training program audits to build corporate assurance, add EHS program value, improve operational safety, and minimize the occurrence of incidents.

Objective, internal auditing emphasizes corporate responsibility to employees, the environment, and the surrounding communities. Training audits can bring a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluating and improving the effectiveness of risk management, control, and corporate governance processes.

Training: an individual instructional component or instructor-led classroom-based activity with a focus on individual knowledge development sufficient to perform specific roles and undertake prescribed responsibilities.

Regulatory requirements are designed to promote safety, prevent accidental releases, and to ensure adequate responses to protect the public when such accidents occur. Companies often rely on regulatory agency inspections to highlight necessary mitigation requirements. However, companies should not rely on formal inspections to ensure training programs are sufficient. Internal training program audits can often reveal inadequacies and mitigation opportunities, providing an opportunity to bolster the overall emergency management program and prevent possible fines down the road.

Hazardous_Waste_Response_Training.jpg

Companies must implement internal control measures and tracking processes to ensure minimum training requirements are met and documented. The following EPA action points can be used to evaluate and implement training program priorities:

  1. Emphasize the basic and program-specific training and refresher requirements
  2. Designate a single point of contact to be responsible for auditing compliance
  3. Strengthen controls over the training process to ensure that credentials are only issued to those who demonstrate training requirement completion
  4. Identify specific training requirements applicable to positions and perform cyclical audits
  5. Amend existing external cooperative agreements to require training compliance with response position descriptions
  6. Correct limitations in the Emergency Management system, such as populating the system with a complete list of training requirements and enabling certificates to be uploaded into the system.
  7. Develop and implement a monitoring and oversight program to better manage and assess training requirements, reports, supervisory oversight, and compliance

An effective training tracking system can elevate training compliance and ease documentation, communication, and reporting efforts. In addition to the EPA action points listed above, a training program should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Customized training and exercise scheduling tools designed to satisfy applicable HAZWOPER, NIIMS, OSHA, USCG, MTSA,  DHS, and other requirements
  • Identification of  personnel requiring training and create lists of completed training per person and overdue requirements for individuals
  • Tracking and reporting training and exercise completion, or status, by discipline, skill, position, individual, location, or over a specific time period.
  • Final documentation of all reports and after-exercise action items
  • Communication of future training events to applicable personnel
  • Lesson plan templates, which streamlines and reduces time required to develop training materials
  • Summary reports, which provide program managers a snapshot of various mandated training and exercises requirements versus completed and scheduled events.

Through web-based technology, automated scheduling and training documentation can reduce costs by minimizing program maintenance. With these critical training aspects of an environmental, health, and safety program addressed, companies can better attain local, state, and federal regulatory compliance.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Training and Exercises, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program, Safety, Workplace Safety

Applying FEMA's Core Capabilites to Corporate EHS Programs: Part 2

Posted on Mon, May 13, 2013

FEMA has identified 31 core capabilities that should be incorporated into emergency management programs. Although the concepts are aimed at the public sector and governmental jurisdictions, companies can evaluate these elements for site specific applicability and implement appropriate elements to actualize corporate strategic and tactical environmental, health, and safety (EHS) goals.

In Part 2 of this series on core capabilities, we will explore the concepts relating to FEMA’s mission areas of prevention and protection, and the core concepts that fall under these areas.

PREVENTION

Preventionincludes those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism. It is focused on ensuring we are optimally prepared to prevent an imminent terrorist attack within the United States.”

Forensics and Attribution: “Conduct forensic analysis and attribute terrorist acts (including the means and methods of terrorism) to their source, to include forensic analysis as well as attribution for an attack and for the preparation for an attack in an effort to prevent initial or follow-on acts and/or swiftly develop counter-options.”

Companies must remain vigilant in preventing  terrorism. By prioritizing the analysis of on-site sources, such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive material, companies can help to prevent initial or follow-on terrorist acts. Site-specific awareness training can broaden the scope of prevention by identifying potential sources and/or attributes associated with a terrorist attack.

PROTECTION

The following capabilities protect individual and critical corporate assets, systems, and networks against threats. EHS programs must institute these critical protective measures to promote business continuity. The ability to identify, quantify, and secure critical business processes that, when not functional, may damage a company’s reputation or ability to operate, is a critical stage in the business continuity planning process.

Access Control and Identity Verification: “Apply a broad range of physical, technological, and cyber measures to control admittance to critical locations and systems, limiting access to authorized individuals to carry out legitimate activities.”

Cybersecurity: “Protect against damage to, the unauthorized use of, and/or the exploitation of (and, if needed, the restoration of) electronic communications systems and services (and the information contained therein).”

Physical Protective Measures: “Reduce or mitigate risks, including actions targeted at threats, vulnerabilities, and/or consequences, by controlling movement and protecting borders, critical infrastructure, and the homeland.”

Risk Management for Protection Programs and Activities: “Identify, assess, and prioritize risks to inform Protection activities and investments.”

Supply Chain Integrity and Security: “Strengthen the security and resilience of the supply chain.”

PREVENTION/PROTECTION

Intelligence and Information Sharing: “Provide timely, accurate, and actionable information resulting from the planning, direction, collection, exploitation, processing, analysis, production, dissemination, evaluation, and feedback of available information concerning threats to the United States, its people, property, or interests; the development, proliferation, or use of WMDs; or any other matter bearing on U.S. national or homeland security by Federal, state, local, and other stakeholders. Information sharing is the ability to exchange intelligence, information, data, or knowledge among Federal, state, local, or private sector entities, as appropriate.”

Intelligence and information sharing are important components of the Incident Command System. Capitalizing on lessons learned enables companies to improve methodology based on actual experiences. To advance an EHS program, managers should include cyclical plan reviews to allow lessons learned to be implemented into preparedness, training and exercises.

Interdiction and Disruption: “Delay, divert, intercept, halt, apprehend, or secure threats and/or hazards.”

Companies  must  establish consistent protocols and regulatory compliance measures to maintain safe operations and minimize exposures. This includes proper and secure handling and disposal of hazardous materials capable of bringing harm to individuals, assets, or the environment. The objective is to remain vigilant in order to prevent potential threats, including terrorism.

Screening, Search, and Detection: “Identify, discover, or locate threats and/or hazards through active and passive surveillance and search procedures. This may include the use of systematic examinations and assessments, sensor technologies, or physical investigation and intelligence.”

Companies must be keenly aware of any operations that can potentially targeted or used in a terroristic manner. Proper identifications of materials and individuals, as well as security protocols must be reviewed to guard against potential harm.

The next blog, Part 3 of the series, will address the core capabilities related to mitigation.  To begin reading Part 1 of this series, click here.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Resiliency, Security plans, Cyber-Security, Terrorism Threat Management, Safety, Political Instability, Insider Threat

Oil and Gas Industry Workplace Safety Commitment

Posted on Mon, Apr 15, 2013

The oil and gas industry is statistically one of the safest operating industrial sectors in the United States. Although the record and public image of the oil and gas industry has been tested with highly publicized tragic incidents, vital responsive and proactive measures, including procedural and preparedness efforts, continue to be implemented in order to safely minimize accidents and catastrophes.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the oil and gas extraction industry, as well as the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry, accounted for the some of the lowest recordable occupational injuries incident rates in private industry for 2011. In the manufacturing industry, only computer and electronics manufacturers ranked lower.

The following are a sampling of private oil and gas industry sectors’ total recordable incidence (TRI) rates represented by the number of injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers:

    • Oil and gas extraction - .9 TRI
    • Pipeline transportation - 1.5 TRI
    • Petroleum and coal products manufacturing - 2.0 TRI
    • Chemical manufacturing - 2.4 TRI
    • Gasoline station - 2.5 TRI
    • Utilities - 3.5 TRI

“America’s oil and natural gas industry considers safety its top priority and is committed to developing the technologies, standards and best practices, and programs needed to help ensure that workplace safety is at the forefront of our activities.” - The American Petroleum Institute (API)

Oil_Gas_Workplace_Safety.jpg

Many of the responsive and proactive measures to enhance safety are implemented by industry specific groups. The API, a U.S. national trade organization, consists of corporate members that include producers, refiners, suppliers, pipeline operators, marine operators, supply companies, and service operators. The organization collaborates the collective wisdom of its membership, to implement recommended standards, many of which are adopted by government regulators and the International Organization for Standards. The API’s Board of Directors established  segmented, resource,  strategic, and standards committees to discuss oil and gas issues.

Segmented committees within the API give a public voice to the oil and gas industry. Members include both large and small companies who, while focusing on policy and regulatory issues, demonstrate a commitment to safe, efficient and environmentally responsible practices. Segmented committees are broken down into the following sectors:

    • Upstream Committee
    • Downstream Committee
    • Marine Committee
    • Pipeline Committee
    • General Membership Committee

Resource committees take on API’s administrative duties while overseeing both internal and external policy and relationships. Strategic committees, such as the Climate Change Steering Committee, pertain to specific issues and resolutions that affect the oil and gas industry.

Since the 1920s, the API Standards program has aimed to advance operational safety through improved technology, training, operational procedures, and best practices. Subcommittee membership and specialized task groups are typically made up by those with interests in specific business and safety measures under discussion. The overseeing API Standards committees include:

Executive Committee on Standardization of Oilfield Equipment and Materials (ECS) - provides leadership in the efficient development and maintenance of standards that minimize needs for individual company standards, promote broad availability of safe, interchangeable oilfield equipment and materials, and promote broad availability of proven engineering and operating practices.

Committee on Refinery Equipment (CRE) - promotes safe and proven engineering practices in the design, fabrication, installation, inspection, and use of materials and equipment in refineries and related processing facilities.

Pipeline Standards Committees - develops, revises, and approves consensus standards for the pipeline industry.

Safety and Fire Protection Committee (SFPS) - seeks to advance and improve the industry’s overall safety and occupational health performance by combining resources to identify and address important public, employee and company issues.

Committee on Petroleum Measurement (COPM) - provides leadership in developing and maintaining cost effective, state of the art, hydrocarbon measurement standards and programs based on sound technical principles consistent with current measurement technology, recognized business accounting and engineering practices, and industry consensus.

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

TRP Corp -Response Procedure flowchart

Tags: Oil Spill, Safety, Workplace Safety

The Industrial Employee as First Responder

Posted on Thu, Mar 28, 2013

The more diligent a company can be in preparing its employees for a potential emergency, the more effective its response. Vendors at The Lakes at Havasu Mall recently underwent “Active Shooter Response Training” to learn  survival tips in the event of a violent assault at the facility. In the event of an emergent and unfamiliar incident, the most effective reactions come in the form of a trained response. Competency in emergency response procedures is necessary in order to avoid the onset of panic in a crisis situation, and to minimize impacts.

Despite the type of operation, all employees should be trained in response measures appropriate for specifically identified risks. However, an industrial setting poses unique hazards and potential threats, unlike those in other fields. Specialized training must address these site-specific, potentially hazardous issues, and complement response team roles and responsibilities.

However, despite an industrial setting, not all employees will be assigned to a formal response team. Efforts must be made to train non-response team members in initial response actions and the appropriate initiation procedures. Personnel, upon discovering a significant event or condition that requires urgent response from outside trained personnel, should take the suggested initial response actions listed below:

Initial Response Actions:

  1. Warn others in the immediate area by word of mouth and/or activate local alarms.
  2. Take immediate personal protective measures (PPE, move to safe location, etc.).
  3. Report the emergency to Security or 9-1-1, depending on company policy.
  4. Implement local response actions (process shutdowns, activate fire protection systems, etc.) if safe to do so, and consistent with level of training and area specific procedures.

The purpose of the initial responder at the operations level is to protect life, property, or the environment from the effects of the release, not stop the release. According to OSHA, first responders at the operational level are those individuals who initially respond to hazardous substances releases. Employees, who may be exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to be Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certified.

Any employee engaged in one of the following operations is required to be HAZWOPER trained per 1910.120 and 1926.65:

  • Cleanup operations, required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.
  • Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.).
  • Voluntary cleanup operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations.

Initial responders are trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to terminate the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading, and prevent exposures. Properly trained emergency response personnel should then continue the response effort. Events that may require outside emergency assistance may include, but are not limited to:

  • An uncontrolled release of a hazardous material
  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Serious injury or illness
  • Potential risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.

Exercises - TRP Corp

Tags: Training and Exercises, Event Preparedness, Safety, Workplace Safety

NTSB Advocates Pipeline Safety

Posted on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

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

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

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

According to PHMSA:

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

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

Mitigation

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

Preparedness

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

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

TRP - SPCC

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

Use "Lessons Learned" to Improve Emergency Response

Posted on Mon, Dec 17, 2012

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery” - James Joyce (1882-1941)

Hurricane Sandy, the October 2012 super storm, affected every aspect of life for millions of residents along the highly populated northeast coast of the United States, and required emergency response measures from both the public and private sectors in unprecedented measures. From every event, whether a planned exercise or an actual emergency incident, lessons can be learned to improve the outcome of the next response. Emergency managers, both in municipalities and the corporate arena, should not camouflage failures or miscommunications from Hurricane Sandy or other incidents, but instead draw from the emergency response to improve disaster preparedness.

Immediately after an exercise or incident response, it is critical to conduct multi-level post incident reviews, gather conclusions from these interviews, and identify lessons learned. Emergency managers should incorporate these ideals into emergency plans, highlight any additional training measures, and inject new responses measures into exercise simulations. Companies should evaluate actual recovery times for critical business processes and attempt to mitigate any obstacles that led to perpetuating the business disruption.

The post-incident review is an evaluation of incident response used to identify and correct gaps, errors, and deficiencies, as well as determine strengths. Timing of a post-incident review is critical. An effective review requires that response and preparedness discussions take place while a disaster or exercise is fresh in the minds of decision makers, responders, regulators, and the public. From this review, lessons learned can be identified and preparedness improvement work can begin.

The post-incident review process is intended to identify which response procedures, equipment, and techniques were effective or ineffective, and the reason(s) why.

Post-incident review checklists should include, at a minimum::

  • Name and typical duties of personnel being debriefed
  • Date, time and location during incident
  • Specific actions performed
  • Responder’s view of the positive aspects of the response and areas for improvements
  • Recovery time and possible mitigation measures for improvement
  • Potential lessons learned
  • Necessary program and plan revisions
  • Effectiveness of equipment used
  • Overall post-incident perception and implications on the company

Key areas of consideration1 that should be analyzed by a review team can include, at a minimum:

  • Mobilization procedures for personnel and equipment
  • Implementation plans and procedures
  • Internal and external communications
  • Management and coordination of emergency response
  • Stakeholder reaction
  • The short and long term consequences of the incident

Emergency response shortfalls can come from a variety of areas or functions. Applying lessons learned to a crisis management or emergency response program allows procedures to align with proven and realistic scenarios.  Utilizing this information provides emergency managers the means of improving applicable programs to better prepare for future situations.

The following five concepts should be examined and incorporated for lesson learned preparedness.

  1. Unidentified potential risk or hazard: A hazard and vulnerability analysis should be performed, and processes and procedures should be developed and added to the plans.
  2. Management gaps and weaknesses: If the post incident reviews revealed weaknesses or gaps in the organization, the emergency response management structure should be modified and emergency plans revised.
  3. Ineffective policies and procedures: If the policies and procedures fail to address key issues during the incident, policies and procedures need to be modified to address inadequacies.
  4. Lack of response proficiency: If response was faulty due to deficient training, exercising, or planning, these efforts should be amplified and personnel should be familiarized with these modifications
  5. Planning deviations: If participants successfully diverged from existing processes, procedures, or plans, these areas should be modified to reflect the reality of the performance.

Applying lessons learned to an emergency management program enables the ability to use experiences as a means to improve preparedness for future emergency scenarios. By analyzing the past, executing enhancements, and reinforcing strengths, companies and municipalities will be better prepared to not repeat history.

1. Disaster Recovery Journal, The Post-Incident Review Process -Can You Correct the Weakness. Mark Morgan.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

TRP Download

Tags: Business Continuity, Emergency Management, Resiliency, Facility Management, Safety, Disaster Recovery, National Preparedness