Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Ten Tips for Workplace Emergency Response Plans

Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2017

An emergency only takes seconds to escalate. At the very least, each company facility or site should develop and implement an emergency plan for protecting employees, visitors and contractors. Whether the plan is mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, a widely accessible workplace emergency plan can maximize response efficiencies and minimize impacts of the emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure.

FEMA identifies five mission areas that can serve as a basic understanding of the emergency management process. These areas include:

  • Prevention: Prevent, avoid, or stop an imminent, threatened or actual act.
  • Protection: Protect employees, citizens, residents, visitors and assets against threats and hazards.
  • Mitigation: Reduce the loss of life and property by lessening risks, threats, and impacts.
  • Response: Respond efficiently to save lives, protect property, and the environment, and meet basic human needs in the aftermath of a catastrophic incident.
  • Recovery: Recover through a focus on the timely restoration, strengthening and revitalization of infrastructure, sustainable operations, as well as the health, social, cultural, historic and environmental fabric of communities affected by a catastrophic incident.

For companies with multiple sites, an enterprise-wide template can streamline formats and serve as an outline for company-mandated information and regulatory compliance content. However, each location’s plan should contain site-specific details that are unique to the facility and can possibly affect the response. A customizable, secure, web-based template with a database of common company planning information allows each site to provide facility-specific compliance data, as well as the precise information required to assist responders in determining the best response for the specific scenario.

database_response_plans.jpg

To help you develop a general outline that can be used to guide your response planning agenda, Ready.gov offers the following guidance.

  1. Identify Objectives: Review preparedness and response planning performance objectives for your company or site’s program. Objectives may include regulatory compliance, hazard prevention/deterrence, risk mitigation, emergency response and business continuity.
  2. Perform a Risk Assessment: Review hazard or threat scenarios identified during a risk assessment.
  3. Identify Response Resources: Identify the availability and capabilities of resources to help stabilize the situation including people, systems and equipment within your facility, as well as external sources.
  4. Create Incident Management Team: This requires response plan knowledge, role specific training, and an effective synergy between team members and external responders.
  5. Evaluate Applicable Regulations: Determine which response planning regulations pertain to your facility and how you can ensure compliance within your site-specific plan.
  6. Develop Protective Action Response Procedures: Evaluate and include life protective action procedures such as evacuation, shelter, shelter-in-place, lockdown.
  7. Establish Hazard-Specific Response Procedures: Depending upon the response planning structure and required content, hazard-specific information may be either included within the response plan or created as a separate stand-alone plan.
  8. Coordinate with public emergency services: Work with public emergency services such as fire, police, HAZMAT teams and emergency medical services to share knowledge of your facility and its hazards, understand their capabilities to stabilize an emergency, and determine their response time to your facility that would be needed to stabilize incidents at your facility.
  9. Emergency Response Training: Training is essential so that everyone on site knows what to do in an emergency or disruption of business operations. Training should include, but not limited to
  • Response plan familiarization
  • Individual roles and responsibilities
  • Plan review training whenever a substantial change or revision is made to the plan that affects organization, procedures, roles and responsibilities, or response capability.
  • Refresher courses, as necessary
  1. Response Drills and Exercises: Corporate preparedness drills and exercises, which may include fire and evacuation drills, should be designed to test response plan components and participants’ knowledge of expectations and required duties to deploy response strategies and tactics, and restore operations.

Tags: Emergency Preparedness, Workplace Safety

Corporate Emergency Management Terminology Every Manager Should Know

Posted on Thu, Dec 10, 2015

Every business has unique terminology specific to department responsibilities and operational processes. However, when it comes to safety, preparedness, and emergency response, all employees should be trained in common emergency management terminology. Despite the varying and divergent roles, knowledge of universal emergency management concepts should be communicated in order to eliminate confusion, strengthen engagement, and promote a culture of safety.

EHS managers should not assume that company personnel identify with the context of preparedness and emergency management terminology. With a collective understanding of general emergency management concepts, companies can strengthen preparedness initiatives and lay the foundation for a flexible, effective, efficient, and all-hazards incident management response.
FEMA identifies five mission areas that can serve as a basic understanding of the emergency management terminology and processes. These areas include:

  • Prevention: Prevent, avoid, or stop a risk, threat, imminent, or actual act.
  • Protection: Protect employees, citizens, residents, visitors and assets against threats and hazards.
  • Mitigation: Reduce the loss of life and property by lessening risks, threats, and impacts of a potential scenario.
  • Response: Respond efficiently to save lives, protect property, and the environment, and meet basic needs in the aftermath of an incident.
  • Recovery: Recover with a focus on the timely restoration, strengthening and revitalization of infrastructure, operations, and affected communities.

Collaborative understanding can often be the bridge to preventing, stabilizing, and recovering from a company or facility emergency situation. The following commonly used emergency management terms should be familiar to employees.

1. Response Planning - The development of plans, policies and procedures to address the physical and/or business consequences of residual risks which are above the level of acceptance to a business, its assets and its stakeholders. Planning should be based upon the results of risk management and within the overall context of enterprise management. For companies with multiple locations, each site’s plans should integrated within the overall enterprise management structure.

2. Incident Command System (ICS) - A standardized management concept designed to enable an integrated response, despite its complexity, response demands, or jurisdictional boundaries. ICS establishes common terminology that allows diverse incident management and support organizations to work together across a wide variety of incident management functions and hazard scenarios.

3. Crisis Management - The coordination of efforts to control a crisis event consistent with strategic goals of an organization. Although generally associated with response, recovery and resumption operations during and following a crisis event, crisis management responsibilities extend to pre-event mitigation, prevention and preparedness, and post event restoration and transition.

4. Incident Management - The management of operations, logistics, planning, finance, administration, safety, and information flow associated with the operational response to the consequences/impacts of a crisis event. Through technology, systems are now available that offer real-time incident management.

5. Incident Response -The tactical reaction to the physical consequences/impacts of a crisis event. Tactical reactions that support the economic viability of a business may include, but not limited to:

  • Protecting personnel and property
  • Situational assessments
  • Situational stabilization
  • Response operations

6. Business Continuity - The business specific plans and actions that enable an organization to respond to a crisis event in a manner such that business units, processes, and sub-functions are recovered and resumed according to a predetermined plan. The recovery efforts should be prioritized by critical function to the economic viability of the business.

7.Emergency Response - A response effort by trained emergency personnel from outside theimmediate affected area, or by other designated responders (i.e., mutual aid groups, local fire departments, etc.), to an occurrence which results, or is likely to result, in an uncontrolled release of a hazard or hazardous material, to include any fire, explosion, or serious injury or illness to personnel where there is a potential risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.

8. Social Responsibility - (ISO 26000) Responsibility for the impacts of decisions and activities on society and the environment. Integrated throughout a company, transparent and ethical behavior should:

  • Contribute to sustainable development
  • Contribute to the health and the welfare of society
  • Account for the expectations of stakeholders
  • Comply with laws and consistent with international norms of behavior
9. Workplace Safety - The working environment that encompasses all factors impacting the safety, health, and well-being of employees. This can include environmental hazards, unsafe working conditions or processes, drug and alcohol abuse, and workplace violence. Workplace safety is monitored at the national level by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

10. Initial Responder: The purpose of the initial responder at the operations level is to protect life, property, or the environment from the effects of the release. Ensure all employees are aware of initial responder site-specific actions. It not the responsibility of the initial responder to stop a hazardous release. Employees who may be exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to be Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certified before responding to an incident.

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Tags: Workplace Safety, corporate preparedness

Combat Complacency: 12 Cost/Benefit Emergency Management Objectives

Posted on Thu, Nov 12, 2015

Companies that experience extended periods of incident-free, operational continuity, often develop a dulled sense of vulnerability that impedes response planning and preparedness. EHS managers must continually address complacency and fluctuating real-world potential issues, site-specific risks, and regulatory compliance within set budgets. Securing the status quo when daily operations and external influences can provoke everything from critical incidents to catastrophic disasters presents a continuous balancing act for EHS managers.

The challenge of sustaining effective safety and preparedness levels is often met with budget justifications for intervention, prevention, and response planning. However, the cost of complacency and stagnation is typically higher than the cost of advancing and implementing safety, preparedness, and response planning initiatives.

EHS budget justifications are often plagued by challenging internal and external factors. Internal challenges often include profitability, shareholder value, and cost control measures. These factors often propel management to question the likelihood of profit/loss scenarios. Additionally, regulatory compliance mitigation opportunities and response planning initiatives are often sacrificed during this process. However, one ineffectively handled emergency or crisis situation can cost a company many times the cost of implementing and maintaining an effective program.

External factors such as regulatory compliance, high-risk locations, shifting labor markets, and emerging competitors can increase the complexity and cost of overall operations. However, these external factors also introduce the potential for additional costs related to fines, emergencies, crises, and business continuity issues. Without a proactive approach to preparedness and response planning, reactionary costs will eventually overtake the cost savings of an effective program.

A detailed emergency management program cost-benefit analysis can highlight the potential cost savings of an effective program and communicate the various threats to operational continuity and longevity. Prevention, mitigation, and planning costs should be compared with the financial impact of situational recovery processes and the overall costs of an incident. The analysis should identify and evaluate low, medium, and high impact likely scenarios, associated response expenditures, and total estimated recovery costs including, but are not limited to:

  • Impacts on employees
  • Short term or long term business interruption
  • Regulatory fines or mandated shutdown for non-compliance
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Equipment failure
  • Inventory/stock losses
  • Reputation
  • Environmental damage

A thorough emergency management program review and response plan audits can reveal specific deficiencies and identify areas for program improvement. These deficiencies should be prioritized, quantified for mitigation, and included in a long-term budget plan. In addition to fulfilling a moral responsibility to protect employees, the community, and the environment, an effective and exercised emergency management program should meet certain key strategic and tactical objectives in order to be cost beneficial. Objectives should include, but are not limited to:

  1. Enhancing employee safety to minimize harm
  2. Facilitating compliance with Federal, State, and Local regulatory requirements, eliminating the threat of potential fines.
  3. Reducing the potential for infrastructure and property damage
  4. Enhancing the ability to recover from business interruption and loss
  5. Reducing indirect business interruption loss (ex. supply chain “ripple” effects)
  6. Reducing environmental damage
  7. Enhancing a company’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community.
  8. Reducing community damage and impacts (ex. historic sites, schools, neighborhoods)
  9. Minimizing societal losses (ex. casualties, injuries, layoffs)
  10. Reducing need for costly emergency response
  11. Reducing exposure to civil or criminal liability in the event of an incident.
  12. Potentially reducing insurance premiums (check with individual insurance providers for associated savings).

Over the long term, emergency management complacency becomes expensive and has a negative effect on corporate preparedness and response planning. By properly budgeting and continuously evaluating incident mitigation opportunities, improving response capabilities and quantifying regulatory compliance, EHS managers can reduce the costs associated with incidents and contribute to the longevity of a company.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

 

Tags: Resiliency, Workplace Safety, corporate preparedness

The Importance of Response Plan Training for the First Responder

Posted on Thu, Jan 22, 2015

Any employee has the potential to be put in a first responder role in the event of an emergency at the office, jobsite, or facility.  As a result, all employees should be trained in response measures appropriate for site-specific vulnerabilities and identified risks. The rapid mobilization and proficiency of initial actions, as well as response procedure familiarity is essential in order to minimize potential chaos, scenario consequences, and plausible chain-reaction events.

In order to avoid the onset of panic or prolong emergency circumstances, necessary and effective reactive measures should become second nature to any potential initial responder. Familiarity through training and exercises can combat the natural effects of stress in tense situations. Having a well-rehearsed emergency plan enables efficient and effective response coordination, reduces losses, and can limit the impact to employees, the environment, and surrounding community.

Efforts must be made to train non-response team members in initial response actions and the appropriate initiation procedures. Any employee or contractor, upon discovering a significant event or condition that requires urgent response from outside trained personnel, should be trained to take the suggested initial response actions listed below:

Initial Response Actions:

  1. Warn others in the immediate area through verbal communication 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.

Industrial facility employees often encounter unique, site-specific hazards, and potential threats, unlike those in other fields. Specialized training must complement response team roles and responsibilities in order to address these specific vulnerabilities and risks. But despite an industrial setting, not all employees will be assigned to a formal response team.

Employees who may be exposed to hazardous substances are required to be HAZWOPER certified. HAZWOPER, an acronym for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, communicates the required training that addresses hazardous operations and potential spills or releases. The intent of the HAZWOPER standard is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)).  However, this does not mean that all HAZWOPER certified employees are responsible for terminating a release. According to the standard, the following first responder levels are not trained to terminate a hazardous incident.

The 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.

Who should be trained? 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 material. 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:

  • What hazardous substances are, and associated risks during an incident

  • The potential outcomes associated with an emergency when hazardous substances are present

  • Ability to recognize the presence of hazardous substances in an emergency

  • Ability to identify the hazardous substances, if possible

  • 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 realize the need to make appropriate notifications for additional resources

The 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.

Who should be trained? These responders are part of the initial response 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 be trained in basic decontamination procedures and PPE.

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

  • Basic hazard and risk assessment techniques

  • How to select and use proper personal protective equipment

  • Basic hazardous materials terms

  • How to perform basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources and personal protective equipment available with their unit

  • How to implement basic decontamination procedures

  • The relevant standard operating procedures and termination procedures

For a free download on conducting an effective exercise, click here or the image below.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, Facility Response Plan, Response Plans, Facility Management, Disaster Response, Workplace Safety, Chemical Industry, HSE Program

Global Response Planning Extends Beyond Operational Hazards

Posted on Thu, Oct 09, 2014

Current world events, such as the Ebola outbreak, ISIS threats, and Super Typhoon Vongfong continue to alter the focus of emergency management. With each pandemic, security crisis, natural disaster, or emergency incident, a renewed emphasis on specific preparedness initiatives and associated countermeasures evolves. Despite site-specific operation hazards, a well-developed response plan should examine all risks and vulnerability factors in order to provide employees with the knowledge, procedures, and resources necessary to respond appropriately to any situation.

When companies expand globally, identifying, evaluating, mitigating, and planning for continually evolving location-specific risks and vulnerabilities is challenging. Those with the responsibility of global preparedness and planning must address site-specific regulatory compliance measures, inherent risks (including operational and location-specific), technological and physical security needs, and each operational response plan component. Cultural disparities, infrastructure challenges, or security provocations may leave sites vulnerable to particular events and heighten the urgency of preparedness initiatives and planning efforts.

Preparedness, operational sustainability, and employee safety requires a streamlined, coordinated, and exercised response plan. Response plans must be developed to account for each potential emergency and non-emergency scenario that could impact or cause damage to a particular facility or its operations.  Aside from innate operational hazards, both physical site security and electronic security must be considered in preparedness measures. (Note: A security breach is just as likely to come in the form of a computer hacker or virus as it is from an actual intrusion, uprising, or physical attack.)

While emergency scenarios may affect the safety and health of employees, operations, and/or the facility infrastructure, non-emergency situations can arise that potentially impact company reputation and operational longevity.  A poorly managed situation can negatively affect a company’s reputation, business interests, and relationship with key regulators and partners.

Below are some crisis management situations that could affect business continuity for companies with multinational facilities. Business continuity and crisis management plans should be developed for each of these scenarios that could likely cause significant damage to the business.

Environmental Stewardship: Disparity in international, country, state, county and corporate environmental standards.  Environmental regulations may vary regarding:

  • Facility or site requirements
  • Transportation
  • Hazardous spills
  • Equipment safety
  • Fire fighting methods
  • Gas releases

Natural Disasters: Each geographic location has specific historical and potential natural threats.

  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Sand/wind storms
  • Tornados
  • Flooding
  • Tsunami

Employee issues: While every facility must prepared for potential employee issues, global companies must pay specific attention to:

  • Cultural differences
  • Language barriers
  • Labor relations challenges
  • Workplace discrimination or harassment
  • Disgruntled workers
  • Health and safety disparagements

Marketing: Global markets and unethical business practices can create non-emergency scenarios resulting in the need for crisis management:

  • Price gouging
  • Supply availability
  • Recalls
  • Deceptive business practices

Security Breach: A security breach can affect multiple aspects of a company, from business continuity to the physical safety of employees.

  • Computer hacking
  • Catastrophic IT failure
  • Facility security measures
  • Civil unrest
  • Personnel/employee security

Corporate Governance:  Corporate changes can initiate unrest, disrupt operations, and company reputation:

  • Mergers
  • Organizational restructuring
  • Downsizing
  • Facility closings
  • Management successions/promotions
  • Financial reporting integrity

Industry/Sector Issues: As industry specific equipment, regulatory advancements, and technologies evolve, preparedness should continually adapt to include safety processes, continuity procedures and best practices.

  • Supply disruptions
  • Punitive regulations

Illegal Activity: Faults in humanity may be intensified by location specific conditions, supply and demand, and/or greed. Preparedness measures should include business continuity and crisis management procedure for the following circumstances:

  • Extortion
  • Bribery
  • Fraud
  • Malfeasance
  • Criminal Investigation

Political/Social issues: As companies strive to be profitable, political and social issues can interfere with daily operations. Situations that may affect productivity include, but are not limited to:

  • Human rights
  • Terrorism
  • War
  • Political or social unrest
  • Economic disparity
  • Discrimination
 

Have locations across the globe? Download TRP Corp's free guide,"Response Planning for Large Organizations with Multi-Facility Operations".

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Social Unrest, Business Continuity, Resiliency, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Terrorism Threat Management, Workplace Safety

The Facility Response Plan Assessment

Posted on Thu, Aug 07, 2014

As part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Oil Pollution Prevention program, certain facilities that store and use oil are required to develop, maintain, and submit an approved Facility Response Plan (FRP). These plans should address the elements and responses associated with substantial threats and worst case discharges of oil. If the Oil Pollution Act regulations are applicable to a facility, the operating company must prioritize response plan compliance in order to minimize fines, negative public perceptions, and potential government mandated shutdown of operations.

Maintaining a FRP is an ongoing process. As company operations evolve, and equipment and employees change, adjustments need to be incorporated into the FRP to ensure accuracy, compliance, and effective response capabilities. Additionally, the plan submittal processes must be observed and applied in order to eliminate the potential for fines.

This FRP assessment is designed to recognize best practices. Following the set of questions, the scoring section can assist in identifying potential necessary actions that can reduce the risk of non-compliance and/or ineffective responses.

1. Have your personally reviewed your company’s FRP within the past 12 months?

Yes _____ No_____

2. Do your employees have a clear understanding the FRP and their designated responsibilities if a worst-case scenario were to occur?

Yes _____ No_____

3. Have your external responders participated in a comprehensive review of your emergency management system or a response exercise within the last 12 months?

Yes _____ No_____

4. Does your plan identify a Qualified Individual and alternate who has full authority to obligate funds required to carry out necessary response actions and act as liaison with Federal On-Scene Coordinator?

Yes _____ No_____

5. Does your FRP identify a public relations contact or information officer who has knowledge of public affairs policies identified in your company’s FRP?

Yes _____ No_____

6. Were representatives of external resources involved in developing and testing the company’s FRP?

Yes _____ No_____

7. Does your company have adequate documentation  procedures and capabilities to document plan l changes, training, and exercises?

Yes _____ No_____

8. Is your FRP consistent with the National Contingency Plan and any Area Contingency Plan?

Yes _____ No_____

9. Have you spent more than two hours during the past six months in face-to-face discussion with your incident management team about how to improve spill response management?

Yes _____ No_____

10. Are your response procedures brief and organized in a manner that enables your employees or response teams to effectively respond to a range of incidents?

Yes _____ No_____

11. Does your FRP clearly identify discharge detection procedures and equipment?

Yes _____ No_____

12. Are your current mutual aid agreements or external responder contracts current?

Yes _____ No_____

13. Is your incident response team equipped and trained to set up incident command center?

Yes _____ No_____

14. Does your FRP include detailed disposal procedures and contractors?

Yes _____ No_____

15. Does your FRP contain alternates for each Incident Management Team position in the event that the primary contacts are unavailable?

Yes _____ No_____

16.  Do key individuals have secured, immediate access to the most up-to-day FRP without potential “version confusion”?

Yes_____No_____

Self-Assessment Scoring

To assess your emergency management program, give yourself one point for each "yes" and zero points for each “no”. Total your score and grade your risk.

13–16 points: In general, your FRP is well managed. Look back at your "no" answers and decide what you can do to mitigate this area of exposure. Be sure to monitor regulatory requirements and any operational shifts that could alter the effectiveness of your FRP. For a comprehensive understanding of the status of your plan, perform a full FRP audit by qualified in-house experts or experienced consultants.

9-12 points: You are making good progress, but there are a number of actions required to reduce your risk of non-compliance or response inefficiency. You may wish to focus your attention on areas indicated by the "no" answers. Based on the results of reviews in these areas, you can decide what further steps are necessary. An expert evaluation of your current plan with response plan professionals can minimize potential fines and maximize response efficiencies.

5-8 points: Your company may be at risk, but you have taken the first step of mitigation: awareness. This score suggest your emergency management responsibilities are being partially met, but there is significant room for improvement. A response-planning consultant with FRP experience can assist planners with site evaluations, regulatory compliance criteria, mitigation efforts, and plan substantiation.

Fewer than 5 points: Your facility, employees, operations, and reputation are at risk! Prompt action is necessary to ensure a compliant emergency management program. You need to take immediate action for regulatory compliance and to improve the ability to respond effectively to an incident. A comprehensive review of your FRP and preparedness efforts is warranted to reduce your risk.

Helpful hints:

  1. Review FRP’s on a cyclical basis. If turnover is high or operations are rapidly evolving, FRPs should be reviewed quarterly, at a minimum.
  2. Ensure training, drills, and exercises are optimized. Each training event, drill, or exercise presents the opportunity to improve response process responsibility and site-specific response procedure awareness, rendering the potential for a more effective response.
  3. Despite the added strain of publicity during a crisis, engaging with the media should be incorporated into the planning process. Ensure the facility or company has a designated point of contact for media and site personnel. Consistent, accurate messages alleviate public anxiety and provide a level of credibility. The more information that is provided, the less the media will have room for interpretation.
  4. Documentation provides historical records, keeps management informed of site practices, serves as a legal instrument, if necessary, and supports time and maintenance costs.
  5. Consider utilizing a web-based, database driven planning system. A widely accessible emergency response plan can maximize efficiency and minimize impacts of an emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure. Incorporating TRP’s enterprise-wide emergency management system can maximize efforts, minimize maintenance costs, and allow for a streamlined and familiar response process.

For free download on facilitating effective oil spill exercises, click on the image below:

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises 

 

Tags: Facility Response Plan, Response Plans, EPA, Oil Spill, Training and Exercises, Facility Management, Workplace Safety

Incident Response Drills and Tabletop Exercises

Posted on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

There are various types of types of emergency response drills and exercises that target specific goals. They can range from small group discussions to complex, multi-faceted exercises. But each drill or exercise presents the opportunity to improve site-specific response plans, rendering the potential for a more effective response.

Response plan testing can begin with simple exercises intended to validate general response plan comprehension or incorporate an all-inclusive, full-scale, realistic, multi-scenario exercise. Managers should determine the goals of the exercise before settling on a particular method. To fully execute a response plan, synergistic drills or exercises should be developed to assess the following critical response skills:

  • Communication
  • Training
  • Resource management
  • Teamwork

An exercise should prepared employees and responders to minimize the impacts of an incident. Below are three of the most basic exercises.

1. Orientations: The purpose of an orientation is to familiarize participants with roles, responsibilities, plans, procedures, and equipment. Orientations can resolve questions of coordination and assignment of responsibilities. The inclusion of first responders and facility staff promotes the development of an effective plan.

2. Drills: The goal of a drill is to practice aspects of the response plan and prepare teams and participants for more extensive exercises in the future. A drill can test a specific operation or function of the response plan.  Facilities should conduct evacuations, shelter in place, and lockdown drills to demonstrate emergency response actions. Drills can be altered to incorporate various scenario situations. The procedures, individual responsibilities, and public safety coordination may be addressed depending on the presented scenario or outcome of the drill.

3. Tabletop Exercises: A tabletop exercise simulates an emergency situation in an informal, stress-free environment.  The participants, usually comprised of decision-making level staff and responders, gather to discuss simulated procedures and general problems/solutions in the context of an emergency scenario.  The focus is on training and familiarization with roles, procedures, and responsibilities relative to the emergency synopsis and potential injects.

Below is a list of common tabletop exercise planning considerations:

Condensed Exercise Time Frame: In order to exercise the emergency scenario, the exercise must progress in a condensed timeframe (not real-time). Events should move rapidly through the phases of the exercised response. However, it should be clearly understood that under real conditions the same events or actions might require additional time to complete. Conversely, real world scenarios can quickly change and transition from a basic emergency to a full scale crisis within a short time frame that require rapid decision making and expeditious responses.

Scenario Information and Position-Specific Tools: Detailed scenario information, ICS forms, and position specific events should be prepared to guide all participants through the execution of their roles and responsibilities. These tools should be included in a participation package and distributed to all participants prior to the exercise. A web-based drill and exercise management tool can streamline the distribution of these tools.

Weather Conditions: Depending on the scenario and if the weather is a critical factor, either real or simulated weather conditions may be utilized during the exercise.

“This is a Drill” Exercise Communications: All radio, telephone, fax and written communications must begin and end with the statement "This is a Drill".  Include this statement in all verbal communications, and in a prominent location on all written correspondence, including report forms, fax communications, and press releases. It may be helpful to add the date to any written documentation for organizational and regulatory compliance purposes.

Communications with external agencies, contractors, medical responders, or other parties not participating directly in an exercise must begin and end with the statement, "This is a Drill". This may involve state or federal regulatory notifications or contact with suppliers or vendors to source simulated logistical needs. In all cases, exercise participants must ensure that the all involved parties clearly understand that no actual emergency exists, and no resources or equipment should be mobilized or dispatched.

Response Equipment Deployment: Emergency equipment and vehicles should be simulated for tabletop exercises. Staging area locations should be identified.

Injects: Injects may be provided to some participants or as a component of the exercise. An inject describes an additional event or circumstance that requires a response or action from the participant.

Exercise Termination and Debriefing: Following termination of the exercise, a debriefing of all exercise participants should be conducted.  All participants should have the opportunity to provide feedback on the exercise and complete an exercise evaluation form. Feedback should be evaluated for potential response plan mitigation opportunities.

Follow-up on Action Items: Exercises may provide insight into the deficiencies in an emergency response plan. In order to take response efforts to the next level, action items resulting from the exercises should be completed in a timely manner.

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

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Tabletop Exercise, Training and Exercises, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Communication Plan, Workplace Safety, HSE Program

How to Manage Preparedness Training for Multiple Downstream Facilties

Posted on Thu, Jul 03, 2014

Luck runs out, but safety is good for life.  ~Author Unknown

Whether an industrial facility is domestically located or abroad, ensuring compliance, employee safety, and an effective response requires a comprehensive training and exercise program. All training and exercise components within a corporate enterprise should address site-specific operations, appropriate response processes, standardized company-wide best practices, and maintain location-specific regulatory compliance.

The challenge of managing and ensuring compliant training programs for multiple facilities and various regulatory agencies is complex. Certification efforts, enforcement mandates, and costly non-compliance fines may result from the lack of implemented, thorough, or effective programs. By utilizing available technology to manage an enterprise-wide training approach, companies can verify compliance and response readiness through a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.

Through proper maintenance of a training portal, individuals will remain at peak optimal response capabilities. Training should include, but not be limited to:

  • Response plan familiarization
  • Individual roles and responsibilities
  • Plan review training whenever a substantial change or revision is made to the plan that affects organization, procedures, roles and responsibilities, or response capability.
  • Refresher courses, as necessary

Mid to large size companies should implement a preparedness and response training management system with the ability to identify and sort specialized data. When a company has multiple facilities, a centralized web-based database of scheduled, lapsed, and completed training enable facility managers to focus their efforts on operations and profitability. With a comprehensive, web-based, database-driven training management system, emergency managers and health, safety, and environmental departments can:

  1. Simplify training reviews
  2. Easily identify training inception and expiration dates
  3. Verify responder knowledge and ensure employee accountability
  4. Identify regulatory compliance training gaps
  5. Account for preparedness endeavors and associated costs
  6. Ease maintenance and administrative efforts

For companies looking to systematically manage the training and development of their staff, an enterprise-wide training management system is critical. Managing several disparate systems and multiple paper files is cumbersome and time consuming. Maintaining training information in a single, consolidated system provides significant benefits. A web-based training management system provides authorized users with secured access from a variety of locations. As facilities are added or modified, operations are revised, or employees are re-assigned, training records can be conveniently added, accessed, transferred, or updated for accuracy and compliance. A comprehensive, web-based training management system will:

  • Reduce the need for multiple site training management and documentation
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Minimize training discrepancies across an enterprise
  • Provide a historical record of training certifications
  • Streamline training directives from one source
  • Serve as a legal instrument, if necessary
  • Engage management in prioritizing preparedness efforts
  • Enhance reporting functionality
  • Identify regulatory compliance training gaps

Training administration can be time-consuming and difficult, particularly in medium to large companies with staff employed in different roles across a variety of physical locations. A customized training management system can streamline this administrative effort, making it easy to ensure staff members receive the appropriate training, and instructors are supported with the necessary resources. A comprehensive system can

  • Track and report training completion or status by discipline, skill, position, individual, location, or over a specific time period
  • Generate summary reports that provide a snapshot of various mandated training versus completed and scheduled events
  • Print automated certifications and wallet cards

Advanced web-based technologies can also facilitate online training and provide classroom resources. While it is not essential to implementing web-based training, it can reduce costs associated with classroom instruction.  Some web-based training solutions include tools to share critical training information and lesson plans with students, reducing the time required to duplicate and distribute training materials across an enterprise.

While optimizing training is critical for regulatory compliance and safety, cost is always a deciding factor. Implementing a customized training management system in highly regulated environments is a proactive, cost-savings measure that can reduce the overall costs associated with incidents, training maintenance, and non-compliance.

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

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: OSHA, Training and Exercises, Workplace Safety, HAZWOPER, HSE Program

Tips for Managing Corporate Emergency Management Training Programs

Posted on Thu, Jun 12, 2014

The ability to schedule, communicate, develop, document, and deliver training is a critical aspect of your environmental, health, safety and emergency response program. Training familiarizes employees and responders with safety and emergency procedures, equipment, and systems, and can identify deficiencies and mitigation opportunities in emergency response planning programs.

Managing the administrative duties associated with training requirements can be time consuming and complex, particularly for large companies. With the multiple variables associated with training, many large companies implement a training and exercise management system. An emergency response planning system with a training component can ease the burdens of documentation, scheduling, and maintenance. Managing an enterprise-wide training program can be complicated by:

  • Multiple fluctuating certification/expiration dates
  • Diverse and varying scope of responder/employee responsibilities
  • Site-specific operations and response objectives
  • Maintaining company standards and best practice priorities
  • Regulatory compliance measures
  • Multiple facilities across several locations
  • Employee turnover

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Accurate and verifiable training documentation enables response plans and procedures to be implemented as intended. Training topics and specialized training includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hazard and risk assessment techniques
  • Selection criteria of proper personal protective equipment
  • Incident reporting
  • Instruction and procedures for using personal protective and emergency equipment
  • Evacuation and alarm procedures
  • Specific roles and responsibilities in according to response scenarios (i.e. fire, explosion, severe weather)
  • An understanding of the role of the first responder in an emergency (i.e.  First Responder Operations Level)
  • Basic control, containment and/or confinement operations within the capabilities of the resources available
  • Relevant standard operating procedures and termination procedures
  • Principles of the Incident Command System

Training and exercise administrative requirements may be dictated by company policy, site operations, hazardous material response needs, or governmental agencies. In addition to yearly response plan reviews and scheduled updates; training documentation modifications may be required:

  • After each training drill or exercise
  • After each emergency
  • When personnel or response tasks change
  • When the layout or design of the facility changes
  • When policies or procedures change

Continual administrative duties associated with personnel training documentation may be timely or inadequately performed, jeopardizing regulatory compliance or the sustainability of an optimal emergency management program. Maximizing efficiency through advancements in technology can minimize administrative maintenance time. An enterprise-wide training and exercise management system can:

  • Improve regulatory compliance by comparing actual training dates to required training frequencies
  • Reduces costs by incorporating all training and exercise records and documentation into an existing database already being utilized for your emergency planning system.
  • Provide reporting tools to identify personnel requiring training, generate lists of completed training per person, and  document all training completed.
  • Automatically generate training agenda and certificates  for each scheduled training session
  • Simplify communication to attendees by generating emails regarding training requirement reminders, class agendas,
  • Initiate scheduled training requirement reminders to each facility. A comprehensive system will allow for developing a customized email message that will be automatically sent to a list of personnel for a selected time period (example monthly).

Technology has bolstered the availability and popularity of online training. However, depending on the certification, trainees often must complete corresponding classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. But regardless of the training format, employers must document certifications and verify site-specific response comprehension.

Companies should require annual site-specific training, and routinely implement unannounced emergency drills and scheduled response exercises. Annual refresher training should cover current industry and in-house emergency operating experience; changes in emergency operations plans, policies, procedures, and equipment; as well as, familiarize employees and responders with response procedures, equipment, and systems. Annual training events can be used as a trigger for discussions and feedback on the company’s emergency management program, drills, and exercises. These discussions often cultivate an environment of safety and preparedness, identify mitigation opportunities, and possibly, training deficiencies.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Training and Exercises, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program, Workplace Safety, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training, HSE Program

Managing Multiple Emergency Action Plans: The Template Approach

Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014

Enterprise-wide standardization breeds familiarity. Yet, each facility requires customization due to site-specific risks, threats, and emergency response challenges. This continually evolving component of preparedness, response planning, and regulatory compliance complicates the administrative duties associated with maintaining a company’s multiple Emergency Action Plans (EAPs).

Technology, such as a web-based planning system, provides companies with the tools to balance enterprise-wide standardization and site-specific regulatory criteria. Companies responsible for multiple buildings, possibly in various locations, should demonstrate a commitment to emergency management by creating a systematic template for incident response policies, procedures, and practices. Yet, these templates should enable users to incorporate the detailed, site-specific data necessary for an effective response.

While much of the information required in an EAP is site-specific, a template approach ensures regulatory requirements are communicated and pre-approved company protocols are identified. At a minimum, a template for EAPs should include:

  • Procedure(s) for reporting a fire or other emergency
  • Procedure(s) for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
  • Procedure(s) to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedure(s) to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedure(s) to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • Contact Information of company/building/site management
  • Alarm system details

The primary goal of an EAP is to protect lives. To establish effective EAPs capable of protecting employees or building occupants, companies should conduct analyses to identify necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.38 regulation. Analyses should identify the following details:

1. Site Analysis

  • Identify existing and potential site hazards through employee feedback, audits, and detailed inspections.

2. Task Analysis

  • Determine job specific methods and procedures for each employee’s duty to reduce or eliminate associated hazards.
  • Review and update methods and procedure when an incident occurs, job responsibilities change, or if hazards are identified through analysis.

3. Risk Analysis

  • Establish risk evaluation criteria, probability of incident, and potential consequences.
  • Monitor and review procedures for continuous improvement, effectiveness, control measures and changed conditions.

After initial analyses, site-specific EAPs should be developed and shared with building occupants. Depending on the characteristics of the building, and inherent roles and responsibilities of the occupants, an EAP may be a component of a comprehensive emergency response-planning program.  This inclusive program may include Facility Response Plans and site-specific Fire Pre Plans. Building emergency response plans should include the following minimum information:

●       Building description

●       Owner/Manager contact information

●       Emergency Assembly Point details

●       Internal and/or external emergency personnel information and contact details

●       Specific hazard details and possible MSDS information, if applicable

●       Utility shut-off locations and descriptions

●       Alarm(s) description

●       Emergency equipment inventory and locations

●       Plot plan(s) and floor plan(s)

●       Risk, site and task identified situational checklists and job specific procedures

Emergency management programs, especially those inclusive of multiple buildings, should include health, safety and environmental training to communicate regulatory requirements, site response methods, and other applicable required safety training. EAPs require that companies designate and train employees to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of other employees. Job and site specific training should be implemented for current employees, new hires, or supervisors that may need to carry out direct reports’ responsibilities.

Safety audits, inspections, task analyses, and incident investigations often identify a need for additional training and/or highlight necessary changes that may apply response plans.  EAPs must be reviewed when:

  • Initial plan is developed
  • A new employee is assigned to the EAP
  • Employee emergency response role or responsibilities change
  • Plan is revised

 

Challenged with managing preparedness amongst your various facilites? Download TRP's best practices guide on response planning for large organizations with multi-facility operations.

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: OSHA, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program, Workplace Safety, Emergency Action Plan