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U.S. Coast Guard Updates OSRO Classification Guidelines for 2016

Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2016

For certain industrial facilities and vessels that store oil, contracts must be established with Oil Spill Removal Organizations (OSROs) in order to provide the personnel and equipment necessary to respond to an oil spill. On March 31, 2016, The US Coast Guard’s National Strike Force Coordination Center released the new 2016 Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO) Guidelines. 

“This revision to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO) Classification Guidelines places the Coast Guard, the oil-related industry, and the public on the best possible footing for response to discharges and substantial threats.” - U.S. Coast Guard

According to the press release, a concerted and collaborative effort among the Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy (CG-MER), the National Strike Force Coordination Center (NSFCC), and private/public sector subject matter experts updated the guidelines to address current risks posed by heavy and Group V oils. Most notably, this update includes a classification scheme for non-floating oils that possess the potential to sink once discharged into the environment.

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If a company does not own the necessary quantities of specialized response equipment, or requires additional equipment and personnel to control a worst case discharge spill scenario, U.S. Coast Guard certified OSROs can provide equipment and additional personnel.

 

Updates to OSRO Guidelines

In an effort to solidify the Coast Guard’s marine environmental response mission and unified approach to oil spill preparedness and response, updates within the OSRO Guidelines include:

  • New annual review requirements for the OSRO Guidelines to be conducted by the NSFCC and CG-MER. This review will take place at the beginning of each calendar year.
  • Revised and edited portions of each classification program to either clarify previous language, add context, or remove redundant language.
  • Created a new classification in the OSRO Guidelines: Non Floating Oils classification. The Non Floating Oil classification meets the regulatory requirements of Group V oils in accordance with the criteria set forth by 33 CFR § 154.1047 and 33 CFR § 155.1052 and the inherent risk of other heavy oil types that may submerge or sink.
  • Created the Non Floating Oil application and procedures to meticulously and qualitatively assess Non Floating Oil classifications. The application contains pertinent information for owners and operators to appropriately determine what Non Floating Oil classified OSROs would be best suited for their operations.
  • Effective on November 30, 2016, all previous Group V OSRO ‘listings’ will be removed from the Response Resource Inventory. Furthermore, all Facility and Vessel response plan holders who may handle, store, or transport Group V oils shall only list Non Floating Oil classified OSROs or provide the required information in accordance with the regulatory Group V Response Plan Development and Evaluation Criteria. OSROs desiring to apply for the Non Floating Oil classification can do so now and refer to Chapter 6 in the Guidelines.

The OSRO classification process was developed by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to provide guidelines to evaluate an OSRO’s potential to respond to oil spills. Although participation in the OSRO classification is voluntary, real-world incidents have shown that this program directly contributes to aggressive, rapid and well-coordinated responses. While an OSRO classification does not guarantee performance, nor does the use of a Coast Guard-classified OSRO relieve plan holders of their responsibility to ensure the adequacy of response resources, the success of this program has been proven as a best practice.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: USCG, Regulatory Compliance

Compliance Tips for Industrial Emergency Management Exercise Programs

Posted on Tue, Jun 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

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

Managing Response Plans for Multiple Regulatory Agencies

Posted on Thu, Mar 20, 2014

The challenge of managing and ensuring compliant response plans for multiple facilities and multiple regulatory agencies is daunting. When audits reveal planning gaps, unless amended, enforcement mandates and costly non-compliance fines may result from the lack of an implemented, thorough, or effective regulatory compliance programs. By utilizing an enterprise-wide template approach to response plans, companies can satisfy multiple regulatory requirements through a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.

In order for emergency plans to be timely, effective, and compliant, site-specific facility information and operational hazards must be addressed and included in a template plan. Off-the-shelf, generic response plan templates will not address every aspect required of an emergency plan. Utilizing generic templates often results in incomplete, ineffective, and non-regulatory compliant plans.

If templates are connected to a web-based database, site-specific information can be cross-referenced with regulatory requirements. As facilities are added or modified, operations are revised, or employees are re-assigned, each plan can be conveniently accessed and updated for accuracy and compliance.

The use of a consolidated emergency, or all-hazards response plan can be adapted to comply with multiple regulations. Annexed plans, such as fire pre plans or business continuity plans can be created to provide more specific and comprehensive response procedures. With a comprehensive, web-based response plan template, emergency managers can:

  • Reduce the need for multiple plans for a single facility
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Simplify plan reviews
  • Minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • Streamline response directives from one source
  • More easily identify regulatory compliance gaps

The planning template must incorporate all local, state and federal regulations. The following questions may assist companies in determining site-specific information requirements for developing an emergency plan template.

1. How will the emergency be reported and response initiated?

  • Create notification procedures. Emergency notifications may include 911, National Response Center, and internal and/or external response teams
  • Identify alarms and how they will be activated.  Specific alarm signals may signal employee evacuation or shelter in place. Test alarms to confirm they are in proper working condition
  • Ensure employees are trained in immediate response actions, as described in plan
  • Identify emergency classification levels to ensure appropriate response actions and resources

2. Who will be in charge of the Incident and who will conduct additional response duties?

  • Create Emergency Management Team organizational chart and activation procedures
  • Create Emergency Management Team roles and responsibilities checklists

3. What threats affect the facility or employees?

  • Perform a detailed hazard and risk analysis
  • Create response procedures for each identified threat
  • Create a process for incident documentation
  • Utilize appropriate ICS Form(s)
4. What incidents or classification level require evacuation/shelter in place
  • Create multiple evacuation routes
  • Determine criteria as to whether evacuation goes beyond facility borders
  • Identify the muster point(s) and head count procedures

5. How are response actions sustained?

  • Identify command post locations and equipment requirements
  • Identify response resources and equipment (both internal and external)
  • Create communications checklist and identify communications equipment available
  • Identify hazard control applicability and methods
  • Detail external communications and public relations policies

6. What is done after the incident is secured?

  • Create checklist for demobilization guidelines
  • Perform a post-incident review and debriefing
  • Identify  “lessons learned”, assign action items, and update response plan accordingly

In 1996, the National Response Team published the Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) Guidance in an effort to provide companies with the means to comply with multiple federal planning requirements required by various regulatory agencies.  The ICP, based on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS), was intended to be used by companies to prepare emergency response plans for responding to releases of oil and non-radiological hazardous substances.

An industrial facility may use an ICP to incorporate one or more of the following applicable federal regulations:

EPA:

  • Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation (SPCC and Facility Response Plan Requirements), 40 CFR part 112.7(d) and 112.20-.21
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Contingency Planning Requirements, 40 CFR part 264, Subpart D, 40 CFR part 265, Subpart D, and 40 CFR 279.52.
  • Risk Management Programs Regulation, 40 CFR part 68

Department of the Interior:

  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Facility Response Plan Regulation, 30 CFR part 254

Department of Transportation/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

  • PHMSA Pipeline Response Plan Regulation, 49 CFR part194
  • U.S. Coast Guard, Facility Response Plan Regulation, 33 CFR part 154, part F

Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

  • Emergency Action Plan Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.38(a)
  • OSHA's Process Safety Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119
  • OSHA's HAZWOPER Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120

Facilities may also be subject to state emergency response planning requirements that are not included in the National Response Team ICP Guidance. Facilities are encouraged to coordinate development of their own ICP with relevant state and local agencies to ensure compliance with any additional regulatory requirements.

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

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

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

PREP for Corporate Regulatory Compliance

Posted on Mon, Oct 07, 2013

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

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

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

Common exercise objectives include, but are not limited to:

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

Organization

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

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

3. Operate within response management system. Including:

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

Operational Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

Response Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

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

New Response Plan Requirements for Select Nontank Vessels

Posted on Thu, Oct 03, 2013

One September 30, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard announced its final rule regarding nontank vessels carrying oil in U.S. waters.  This final rule specifies the content of nontank vessel response plans (NTVRP) and addresses the requirement to plan for responding to a worst-case discharge and a substantial threat of such a discharge.  Nontank vessel owners and operators must comply with the preparation and submission requirements of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Acts of 2004 and 2006 and requires owners and operators to prepare and submit oil spill response plans.

This NTVRP final rule expands response plan requirements from only tank vessels, for which regulations were initially issued in 1993, to include nontank vessels. This expansion recognizes the significant increase in the quantity of petroleum and petroleum products carried as bunker for fuel and the potentially catastrophic consequences should a mishap result in tank breach. The Coast Guard states that a significant number of today's large nontank vessels carry more oil than many of the tank vessels did as cargo when the original tank vessel response plan requirements were initiated.  These statutorily mandated requirements fill this regulatory gap and enhance the national oil response infrastructure.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the NTVRP rule will improve the nation's pollution response planning and preparedness posture, and help limit the environmental damage resulting from nontank vessel marine casualties.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act defines a nontank vessel as a self-propelled vessel of 400 gross tons or greater that operates on U.S. navigable waters while carrying oil of any kind as fuel for main propulsion and is not a tank vessel.  The response services a nontank vessel owner or operator must plan for are scaled to the risk (i.e., oil capacity) of the vessel. Doing so allows the Coast Guard to minimize burden in carrying out the statutory mandate and focus on those vessels which present the greatest risk to the environment should a breach occur. The Coast Guard revisions include provisions to allow nontank owners or operators to submit their VRP electronically.

Per 33 U.S.C. 1321(j)(5)(D)(i-iv), a response plan must:

  • Be consistent with the requirements of the National Contingency Plan and Area Contingency Plans.
  • Identify the qualified individual having full authority to implement removal actions, and require immediate communications between that individual and the appropriate Federal official and the persons providing personnel and equipment.
  • Identify, and ensure by contract or other approved means the availability of, private personnel and equipment necessary to remove to the maximum extent practicable a worst case discharge (including a discharge resulting from fire or explosion), and to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of such a discharge.
  • Describe the training, equipment testing, periodic unannounced drills, and response actions of persons on the vessel or at the facility, to be carried out under the plan to ensure the safety of the vessel or facility and to mitigate or prevent the discharge, or the substantial threat of a discharge.

This final rule supports the Coast Guard's strategic goals of protection of natural resources and maritime mobility. This pre-planning will create vital linkages between the shipping industry and oil spill response service providers (such as oil spill removal organizations (OSROs), salvage companies, and marine firefighting companies), ensuring that mechanisms are in place to immediately respond to an emergency.

This final rule goes into effect October 30, 2013.

For a free download of a Response Procedures Flowchart, click the image below:

New Call-to-Action

Tags: USCG, Oil Spill, Regulatory Compliance, National Preparedness

USCG Oil Spill Planning and the Facility Response Plan

Posted on Thu, Sep 26, 2013

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) created comprehensive prevention, response, liability, and compensation policies for vessel and facilities that could cause oil pollution to U.S. navigable waters. For facilities adjacent or nearby shorelines, OPA 90 highlights the need for site-specific Facility Response Plans (FRP).

Responding to an oil spill is a dynamic scenario with multiple moving parts and trajectories, both in regards to the material spilled and the responders involved. As a result, a FRP must provide guidelines to quickly, safely, and effectively respond to a spill.

OPA 90 greatly increased federal oversight of oil related vessels and facilities in attempt to provide greater environmental safeguards. OPA 90 implemented the following key points:

  • Set new requirements for vessel construction, crew licensing, and manning
  • Mandated contingency planning
  • Enhanced federal response capability
  • Broadened enforcement authority
  • Increased penalties
  • Created new research and development programs
  • Increased potential liabilities
  • Significantly broadened financial responsibility requirements.

Facilities can enhance oil spill response efforts and incorporate regulatory compliance by preparing site-specific FRPs.  A FRP must provide responders with processes and procedures to quickly, safely, and effectively respond to a spill to prevent further damaging effects. The following are US Coast Guard OPA 90 Facility Response Plan components (33 CFR 154.1035):

Prioritized notification procedures

  1. List of facility response personnel.
  2. List of Federal, State or local agencies, as required
  • Spill response notification forms to Federal, State, local agencies. Form must state that initial notification must not be delayed by collection of data.
  • Notification of the National Response Center.

Facility’s spill mitigation procedures

  1. Description of volume and oil groups that would be involved in the following:
    • Average, maximum and worse discharge from the MTR facility. And, where applicable, the worst case discharge from the non-transportation-related facility.
  2. Prioritized list of procedures and facility personnel (identified by job title).  Procedures must address actions to be taken in the event of a discharge, potential discharge or emergency involving equipment and scenarios.
  3. Listing of equipment and the responsibilities of facility personnel to mitigate an average most probable discharge.

Facility's response activities: Responsibilities of facility personnel to initiate a response and supervise response resources pending arrival of qualified individuals.

  1. Responsibilities and authority of the qualified individual and alternate as required in § 154.1026.
  2. Application of the following organizational structure to manage response actions:
    • Command and control
    • Public information
    • Safety
    • Liaison with government agencies
    • Spill operations
    • Planning
    • Logistics support
    • Finance
  3. Identification oil spill removal organizations and the spill management teams to be capable of providing the following response resources:
  • Equipment and supplies to meet § 154.1045, 154.1047, as appropriate
  • Trained personnel for response to be on hand for the first 7 days of the response
  • Job descriptions for each spill management team member within the organizational structure in a response action.
  • For mobile facilities in more than one COTP zone, oil spill removal organizations and the spill management teams must be identified from paragraph (3)(iv) and included in each COTP zone.

Sensitive Environments

  1. Identification of areas of economic importance and environmental sensitivities which are potentially impacted by a worst case discharge
  2. Development of plans to contain detailed information as to how they will respond to small, medium, and worst-case spills. Identification of  appropriate equipment and personnel as described in § 154.1028 to protect sensitive elements by one of the following calculations:
    • Persistent oils and non-petroleum oils discharged into non-tidal waters, the distance from the facility reached in 48 hours at maximum current.
    • Persistent and non-petroleum oils discharged into tidal waters, 15 miles from the facility down current during ebb tide and to the point of maximum tidal influence or 15 miles, whichever is less, during flood tide.
    • Non-persistent oils discharged into non-tidal waters, the distance from the facility reached in 24 hours at maximum current.
    • Non-persistent oils discharged into tidal waters, 5 miles from the facility down current during ebb tide and to the point of maximum tidal influence or 5 miles, whichever is less, during flood tide.
    • Spill trajectory or model may be substituted if acceptable to Captain of the Port.
    • Procedures contained in the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on oil pollution prevention may be substituted for non-tidal and tidal waters.
    • Captain of the Port may require additional sensitive elements to be protected depending on trajectory.
  3. Disposal Plan

Training and Exercises

  1. Training and drill procedures facility owner or operator must fulfill
  2. Plan reviews and update procedures

Site Specifications

  1. List of contacts must include primary and alternate personnel, response contractors and Federal, state and local officials.
  2. Equipment list and records
  3. Communications plan
  4. Site-specific safety and health plan

The above is a summary of the USCG regulation. For more specific information regarding requirements for facilities that could reasonably be expected to cause significant and substantial harm to the environment, please see  33 CFR 154.1035.

Understanding the required elements of the SPCC and FRP, and associated inspections may minimize potential regulatory penalties and fines and curtail operational downtime. For a free download on the SPCC and FRP nspections, click the image below:

TRP - SPCC and FRP

Tags: USCG, Facility Response Plan, OPA 90, Oil Spill, Facility Management, Communication Plan

Regulatory Compliance Management and the Price of Non-Compliance

Posted on Thu, Oct 25, 2012

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

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

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

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

January

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

Feburary

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

March

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

April

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

May

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

June

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

July

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

August

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

September

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

USCG Requirements and Responsibilities of Facility Security Officer

Posted on Mon, Sep 17, 2012

This summer, 22 nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The biennial exercise is designed to establish and sustain cooperative relationships to ensure the safety of sea-lanes and security on the world's oceans. This exercise emphasizes the importance of the US Coast Guard’s Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) for U.S based marine-transportation related facilities by prioritizing safety and security.

The MTSA requires marine-transportation related facility owners to be responsible for facility security. The Act requires vulnerability assessments and security plan approvals.  The marine transportation security aspects regulated by the USCG covers the entire facility, not just the transfer or “dock” area.

However, not all port located facilities are affected by the MTSA regulations. The MTSA requires that those facilities deemed “high risk” for transportation related security incidents must comply with regulations in order to continue operations. “High risk” facilities that mandate compliance with MTSA requirements are those that perform the following:

  • Handle explosives, liquefied natural or hazardous gas, or other Certain Dangerous Cargoes (CDC)
  • Transfer oil or hazardous materials
  • Handle vessels covered by Chapter XI of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
  • Handle passenger vessels certified to carry more than 150 passengers (if vessels actually embark or disembark passengers there)
  • Handle cargo vessels greater than 100 gross registered tons
  • Handle barges that carry cargoes regulated by 46 CFR, chapter I, subchapter D or O, or CDCs.

A facility that is deemed high risk must assign a Facility Security Officer (FSO). According to CFR 33 part 105, maritime security for facilities, a single employee may serve as the FSO for more than one facility, as long as the facilities are in the same Captain Of The Port (COTP) zone and are within 50 miles of each other. The FSO may also perform other duties within the company, but they must be able to perform the duties and responsibilities required of the FSO. The FSO must ensure and oversee the following duties:

  • Facility Security Assessment (FSA)
  • Facility Security Plan (FSP) is developed and implemented
  • Annual audit, and if necessary, update the FSA and FSP
  • The FSP is exercised per §105.220
  • Regular security inspections
  • Security awareness and vigilance of the facility personnel
  • Adequate training to personnel performing facility security duties
  • Security incidents are recorded and reported to the owner or operator
  • Documentation of maintenance
  • Preparation and the submission of any reports
  • Any required Declarations of Security with Masters, Vessel Security Officers or their designated representatives
  • The coordination of security services in accordance with the approved FSP
  • Security equipment is properly operated, tested, calibrated, and maintained
  • The recording and reporting of attainment changes in MARSEC Levels to the owner or operator and the cognizant COTP
  • When requested, provide assistance to the Vessel Security Officers in confirming the identity of visitors and service providers seeking to board the vessel through the facility
  • Timely notification to law enforcement personnel and other emergency responders of any transportation security incident
  • The FSP submittal to the cognizant COTP for approval, as well as any plans to change the facility or facility infrastructure prior to amending the FSP
  • Facility personnel are briefed of changes in security conditions
  • Proper implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, if necessary.

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

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Tags: USCG, MTSA, Security plans, Department of Homeland Security, Terrorism Threat Management, Chemical Industry

The Common Regulatory Requirements between the EPA and USCG

Posted on Mon, Aug 27, 2012

Many U.S. facilities, such as marine transfer facilities with aboveground storage tanks, are regulated by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Certain EPA-regulated facilities that are located adjacent to U.S. waters, or on company property adjoining a marine-transportation-related facility, may be also held accountable by USCG regulations. The marine transportation security aspects regulated by the USCG covers the entire facility, not just the oil transfer or “dock” area. Although the USCG’s 33 CFR part 105 105 mandates the details of facility security planning and the EPA’s 40 CFR part 112  pertains to oil spill prevention and response planning, there are several overlapping provisions.

EPA’s 33 CFR part 112 requires Facility Response Plans (FRP) that describe the response procedures for oil discharges of all types, whether the cause is accidental, man-made, natural, or deliberate. EPA’s FRP requirements address responses to worst-case discharges, which can damage the facility, disrupt waterborne commerce, and cause substantial economic or environmental damage.  The USCG’s 40 CFR part 112 on maritime security aims to prevent the consequences of a worst-case discharge. Specific provisions that may overlap in the two sets of requirements include, but are not limited to the following:

Notification:

  • Part 112: The FRP must include an emergency response action plan, which summarizes key response information from the FRP, including emergency contact information for the Qualified Individual, facility response personnel, response organizations, and local responders. 
  • Part 105: The Facility Security Officer must have a means to effectively notify facility personnel of changes in security conditions at a facility. Transportation security incidents are reported to the National Response Center and to appropriate emergency responders. At each active facility access point, a system must be in place to allow communication with authorities with security responsibilities, including the police, security control, and the emergency operations center.
Fencing and monitoring:
  • Part 112: The FRP must describe facility security, as appropriate, including fencing, guards, and lighting. The SPCC Plan must also describe facility security measures to restrict access to the oil handling, processing, and storage areas. The SPCC also requires adequate lighting to prevent discharges caused by vandalism.
  • Part 105: The Facility Security Plan must describe security measures to prevent unauthorized access to cargo storage areas, including continuous monitoring through a combination of lighting, security guards, and other methods.

Evacuation:

  • Part 112: The FRP requires detailed evacuation plans, including primary and secondary evacuation routes, centralized check-in area, and references to community evacuation plans.
  • Part 105: The owner or operator must identify the location of escape and evacuation routes and assembly stations to ensure that personnel are able to evacuate during security threats.

Assessment:

  • Part 112:  The FRP required a detailed site plan diagram, hazard evaluation, and vulnerability assessment. The assessment in the FRP examines potential effects of an oil spill, such as the shutdown of downstream water intakes.
  • Part 105: The Facility Security Assessment requires description of the layout of the facility, and response procedures for emergency conditions, threat assessment, and vulnerabilities, with a focus on areas at the facility that may be vulnerable to a security threat, such as utility equipment and services vital to operations.

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

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Tags: USCG, Dock Operations, EPA, OPA 90, Oil Spill

The Basics of a USCG Dock Operations Manual

Posted on Thu, Jun 07, 2012

A leak or spill of a hazardous liquid bulk product directly into a waterway pollutes the water and could contaminate sediment and adversely affect marine life. As a result, U.S. Coast Guard Dock Operations Manuals are required by facilities involved in transferring oil or hazardous materials in bulk to or from a vessel that has a total capacity, from a combination of all bulk products carried, of 250 barrels or more. However, the regional Captain of the Port (COTP) may determine that a facility transferring less than 250 barrels must provide a dock operations manual if it is deemed that a discharge into or on navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, or exclusive economic zone may cause substantial harm to the environment.

Details of Dock Operations Manual

A dock operations manual should include, but is not limited to, the following details:

  • Plot plan and location maps.
  • Emergency contact numbers - Include qualified individual, contractors, agencies, emergency resources, and applicable company personnel.
  • Detailed facility information - Including latitude and longitude, hours, details of facility ownership, and dock specifications and capabilities.
  • Product Descriptions - Appearance, odor, hazards involved in handling, instructions for safe handling, procedures for spills, leaks or human exposure, and firefighting procedures (MSDS information).
  • Watchman duties.
  • Communication system specifications.Dock_Operations_Manual_TRP.jpg
  • Details of personnel shelter(s).
  • Monitoring devices and containment equipment.
  • Transfer procedures - Beginning with vessel arrival, pumping, and post transfer processes.
  • Emergency procedures for discharge/spill and equipment necessary.
  • Fire equipment.
  • Reporting and notification procedures.
  • Lighting details.
  • Identification of Person in Charge and qualifications.
  • Hose identification markings maximum allowable working pressure details).

Facility operators are required to submit two copies of the dock operations manual to the COTP of the zone in which the facility is located. If the COTP finds that the manual meets the minimum requirements, one copy will be returned to the operator marked “Examined by the Coast Guard”.

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

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Tags: USCG, Dock Operations, Oil Spill, Facility Management