Chemical companies have a responsibility to prepare for natural disasters.
As we saw all-too-recently in Texas, natural disasters can wreak havoc on industrial operations; they don’t take exception to volatile chemical facilities. It’s in the best interest of chemical companies – and of the public – for facilities to always be adequately prepared for the worst.
What Natural Disasters Pose a Threat?
There are endless ways in which Mother Nature can threaten the operations and safety of a chemical company. For chemical facilities, anything from strong winds to flooding can render product useless and, worse, put the safety of the general public at risk. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, and ice storms pose a few of the most common threats.
While it’s imperative that chemical operations be physically prepared to weather a natural disaster, it’s also important to consider the ramifications a disaster could have on supply chain logistics. In the case of some disasters (such as a hurricane), advance warning means companies can feasibly enact prescribed plans for chemical storage, distribution, and containment that will minimize disruption after-the-fact.
What Can Chemical Companies Do Now?
Preparation is key. Natural disasters tend to favor the prepared; having a plan in place before disaster is imminent gives your operation a foundation for successful reoperation. In some states, there may be specific regulations in place regarding exactly which precautions chemical companies must follow in an effort to be prepared. Be sure to follow and exceed these guidelines, periodically auditing the entire facility to ensure continued compliance.
On a production level, plans should be put in place for advance warning disasters, sudden disasters, and their after effects. These plans should include specific directives for containment and storage of sensitive chemicals, a process for cataloguing potential risks, and mitigation itself. Every responsible chemical company should have an environmental cleanup crew on speed dial specifically for such situations.
The People Factor
Training is absolutely key in preparing for and mitigating the effects of a natural disaster. All employees, from chemists to production assistants to executives, should be thoroughly and regularly trained on best-practices before, during, and after a weather event.
Finally, a detailed communication plan should be outlined internally and shared with relevant outside parties during a period of normal operations. Coordination between in-house chemical teams, cleanup experts, and regulatory/governmental agencies improves the outcome of any chemical disaster. Be sure to consider the ramifications and next-steps of a downed telecommunications system when outlining this plan.
Noah Chemicals takes our responsibility of stewardship seriously. Based in San Antonio, we’ve recently witnessed firsthand exactly how devastating the effects of a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey can be; we fully subscribe to the philosophy than an ounce of prevention now is worth a pound of cure.
Questions on how our chemicals or best-practices fit into your natural disaster plan?
Contact Noah Chemicals today.