Safety, security dominate topics at OPSEM meeting
Sep 30, 2004 1:22 PM
Recognizing potential safety and security hazards remain the top priority for the chemical industry in preventing accidents and thwarting terrorists' plans, according to information presented at the 2004 Operations Seminar and Trade Show (OPSEM) sponsored by the National Association of Chemical Distributors.
"Murphy's law has not been repealed," said Carolyn Merritt, the chairman of the US Chemical and Safety Hazard Investigation Board.
She addressed safety concerns during the September 22-24 meeting held in Orlando FL.
In referring to the adage that means if something can go wrong, it will, Merritt listed circumstances that can lead to safety problems, basing the comments on the results of investigations into space shuttle disasters.
"You will recognize this as an organization/cultural event that you deal with on a regular basis," she added, listing management changes, budget cuts, failed leadership, scheduling problems, complacency, replacing knowledgeable people (retirement, attrition, etc) with those who have less experience, lack of housekeeping, failing to search diligently for possible hazards, and neglecting to plan ahead for disasters.
In addressing security issues, Michael Hazzan of Chemetica Inc/AcuTech Consulting Group reminded the audience that there are two types of terrorist that have to be considered: international and domestic. "It's tough to stop it," he said.
He advised companies to make plans that include ways to deter, detect, and/or delay possible attacks on their sites. In addition, the plans must include response plans in the event an attack occurs.
"You have to look at everything, including your cyber systems," he said. "You need to upgrade things. You need to spend some money."
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