Background Image

PollutionEngineering June 2012 : Page 30

OH NO!!! A major disaster has just struck a manufacturing plant. Now what do we do? By ROY BIGHAM A ccidents by definition c are events that are not a planned. However, we can p plan for the event of an p accident. Such planning a will require a number of preplanning steps that we all hope will never need to be implemented, but will pay major dividends in the case that they are needed. About three miles from my home is a waste treatment plant. At some point dur-ing the processing of the waste, something went foul. It was in the evening and I heard one of the first explosions. From my back yard, I could see fireball after fireball launch into the air. I went back in after a time and searched online. Sure enough, I soon found a live feed from the ubiquitous news helicopters that rushed to the scene. Much of the facility was gone and still burning. Tanks and other structures con-tinued to explode for hours. I was unable to learn how many casual-ties resulted from the devastation until the next morning. It turned out that the com-pany had a plan in the unlikely event that a reaction got out of control. The alarms sounded and people evacuated to safe areas. The nearby residences were evacuated. The fire department arrived and the appropriate information was immediately available so that the authorities could properly fight the fires. Nobody was injured or killed. They 30 Pollution Engineering JUNE 2012 had a plan for something they thought would never happen. Proper preparation Every facility should have a disaster management plan. Even if it is not a regulatory requirement, having a plan in place prevents a lot of headaches in the long run. One person can start the pro-cess, but to have a truly successful plan it is best to involve a number of people. That group should include more than just management. is the main power shutoff? Who do you need to call and in what order? By including a group of people in discus-sions about potential disasters and steps to take, it is so much easier to consider how to handle the “what if ” scenarios. The project leader should compile a list of potential disasters and a suggestion of appropriate actions listed for each. Tape the sheets on the wall around the room and also put up some blank ones. They will be needed. Gather together a team of people that know the company from the top down as “ Nobody was injured or killed. They had a plan for something they thought would never happen. Never assume that a facility will not need a plan because they do not han-dle hazardous chemicals or are not large enough. Consider that a facility is housed on the seventh floor of an office building. The person charged with developing the plan might reasonably think that a flood event is not a concern. However, what would happen if a water pipe in the floor above bursts? Where is the water shutoff valve? Is water coming anywhere close to computers or other electronic gear? Where well as from the line up. Explain the need to have a proper plan in place and ask for help in developing a list of potential disasters, how they might be avoided and what actions might be required in case something does happen. ” Next step By this time, there should be a large col-lection of papers. These will need to be boiled down into a notebook and put in some order that would make it easy to

Oh No!!!

Roy Bigham

A major disaster has just struck a manufacturing plant.<br /> <br /> Now what do we do?<br /> <br /> Accidents by definition are events that are not planned. However, we can plan for the event of an accident. Such planning will require a number of preplanning steps that we all hope will never need to be implemented, but will pay major dividends in the case that they are needed.<br /> <br /> About three miles from my home is a waste treatment plant. At some point during the processing of the waste, something went foul. It was in the evening and I heard one of the first explosions. From my back yard, I could see fireball after fireball launch into the air. I went back in after a time and searched online. Sure enough, I soon found a live feed from the ubiquitous news helicopters that rushed to the scene.Much of the facility was gone and still burning. Tanks and other structures continued to explode for hours.<br /> <br /> I was unable to learn how many casualties resulted from the devastation until the next morning. It turned out that the company had a plan in the unlikely event that a reaction got out of control. The alarms sounded and people evacuated to safe areas.The nearby residences were evacuated. The fire department arrived and the appropriate information was immediately available so that the authorities could properly fight the fires. Nobody was injured or killed. They Had a plan for something they thought would never happen.<br /> <br /> Proper preparation <br /> <br /> Every facility should have a disaster management plan. Even if it is not a regulatory requirement, having a plan in place prevents a lot of headaches in the long run. One person can start the process, but to have a truly successful plan it is best to involve a number of people.That group should include more than just management. <br /> <br /> Never assume that a facility will not need a plan because they do not handle hazardous chemicals or are not large enough. Consider that a facility is housed on the seventh floor of an office building.The person charged with developing the plan might reasonably think that a flood event is not a concern. However, what would happen if a water pipe in the floor above bursts? Where is the water shutoff valve? Is water coming anywhere close to computers or other electronic gear? Where Is the main power shutoff? Who do you need to call and in what order?<br /> <br /> By including a group of people in discussions about potential disasters and steps to take, it is so much easier to consider how to handle the “what if” scenarios. The project leader should compile a list of potential disasters and a suggestion of appropriate actions listed for each. Tape the sheets on the wall around the room and also put up some blank ones. They will be needed.<br /> Gather together a team of people that know the company from the top down as Well as from the line up. Explain the need to have a proper plan in place and ask for help in developing a list of potential disasters, how they might be avoided and what actions might be required in case something does happen.<br /> <br /> Next step <br /> <br /> By this time, there should be a large collection of papers. These will need to be boiled down into a notebook and put in some order that would make it easy to reference Should the need ever come up.Some facilities may be required to have a certified professional engineer (PE) sign off on any plan they put together. Any PE worth his or her price will want to review the plan and at least walk the site. The PE should have ideas to add to the list.<br /> <br /> Critical steps <br /> <br /> Now that the plan is approved, it would do nobody any good to put it on a shelf.<br /> Review the plan and make certain that Any equipment or preparations that were called for is appropriated and placed where they belong.<br /> <br /> Make copies of the plan. These should be placed where they can be easily accessed if needed. One copy should be placed off site or at least in a lockbox near the property entrance.<br /> <br /> Training is perhaps the most important step. Take the time to explain the plan to the departments affected in a disaster scenario.While it is not necessary to explain steps that must be taken in the foundry to the kitchen staff, it would be helpful for the kitchen staff to know that it exists in case there is ever a need for them to access it. But, do not stop there. Such training should be reviewed at regular intervals.The information should be fresh in everyone’s mind in case it is needed. Personnel turnover will be caught by repeating the training. Include a question and answer period at the end and take each question seriously. Be sure to document the training Sessions. A short paper describing the content of the training session along with each person printing and signing their name will be adequate. Date it and put it in a file.<br /> <br /> This next step can be difficult. If a disaster could result in any type of dangerous condition for the responding fire Department, they should be alerted before the fact. Things may have changed today, but I recall more than once approaching a local fire marshal only to be told they will take care of the problem when it happens and not before. They did not want a copy of the disaster plan. I would suggest that the local fire marshal be contacted and informed that a disaster management plan has been developed. Ask if he or one of his people would be interested in having a copy or to walk the site to familiarize them with any potential hazards. This approach will go further and is much less contentious. If not interested, write it down that the marshal was contacted, the date and any important notes, and file it.<br /> <br /> One last suggestion is to instruct the financial officer to meet with the company’s insurance representative. Knowing that a plan exists and the steps that have been taken could result in a reduction of premiums. They will be very appreciative knowing they were included in the process. <br /> <br /> Final step <br /> <br /> Having the proper equipment in place can save lives and property.Just storing chemicals that should not mix in separate rooms is not enough. Those rooms need to be isolated in case of a spill. There are devices Such as doors that automatically close and seal a room in the case of a spill or trenches in front of doors to divert liquids.<br /> <br /> Spills do not always happen in a room or in a factory. Companies provide a variety of spill containment packages. I used to keep three sets of oversized plastic drums that were filled with a variety of containment materials. I could quickly grab the drum and toss into my truck and go directly to the site to begin containment. The oversized drum was large enough to use as an over pack for a leaking 55-gallon drum or fill with contaminated containment Material.<br /> <br /> Arriving at a spill event or disaster can require specialized equipment and training. It is not always possible to know what conditions one faces. Companies such as RAE Systems provide a number of what are called “first responder gear.” They can provide protection against exposure and information on what dangers are being faced. Additionally, some of their gear can remotely monitor the wellbeing of the person entering the danger zone.<br /> <br /> Regularly review the contact page of the plan. Make certain that the information is kept up to date in ALL of the copies. Should a disaster strike, these preparations will significantly lessen the recovery time. It will contain costs. More importantly, it will save property and lives.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here