Contact: Scott Jensen (202) 249-6511
WASHINGTON (Nov. 25, 2013) – The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group established by White House Executive Order 13650 (EO), “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security,” today provided stakeholders with an online overview of the EO and solicited public comment on issues regarding its implementation. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) submitted a letter to President Obama earlier this year expressing its desire to assist the Working Group and provided brief comments during today’s webinar that focused on ways to leverage existing industry initiatives and regulatory programs in order to fulfill many key requirements of the EO.
The following statement can be attributed to ACC Senior Director of Security Bill Erny:
“Nothing is more important to ACC and our members than the safety and security of our facilities, employees and communities. We are proud to be part of an industry group that has placed safety and security at the core of its operations, and have reduced worker recordable injury and illness rates at their facilities by 79 percent since 1990. ACC members have a worker safety rate five times better than the U.S. manufacturing sector as a whole, and have reduced the number of process safety incidents by 58 percent since 1995.
“One important factor to this strong safety record is the ACC Responsible Care® program, which is the chemical industry’s comprehensive environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative and is mandatory for membership in ACC. The Responsible Care program and the Responsible Care® Process Safety Code are designed for continuous improvement and have already contributed to one of the strongest safety records in U.S. manufacturing. For instance, the Process Safety Code requires companies to develop and implement a comprehensive process safety management system to manage risk and seek opportunities to improve performance, including the consideration of safer alternatives—one of the stated goals of the President’s Executive Order.
“We urge the Administration to draw from our industry’s best practices, model programs and strong safety record to assist the Working Group with identifying additional ways to enhance safety and security across the chemical manufacturing sector.
“Furthermore, comprehensive regulations that fully address chemical safety and security risk management are in place today, including the OSHA Process Safety Management Rule, the EPA Risk Management Program and the DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. These programs require chemical facilities to assess their hazards on a regular basis and establish a prevention program. These programs also require facilities to develop an emergency response plan and work closely with the local community and first responders.
“As far as of the notion of creating specific regulatory requirements for the use of ‘inherently safer technologies’ (IST), ACC believes that the current regulations in place today and the marketplace itself provide very strong incentives for companies to consider and adopt IST. These programs allow facility operators to use all of the risk management tools and options at their disposal, while considering the complexities of their unique operating environment. Adding additional layers of regulation addressing IST are not needed, and would only serve to create confusion and continue to stretch Agency and facility management resources.
“What is needed, however, is better coordination among federal, state and local agencies as well as improved enforcement and compliance assistance of existing regulations. Additionally, increased attention and resources should be given to outreach, education and training in order to improve regulatory effectiveness and ensure that ‘outliers’ are fully aware of their regulatory obligations.
“In summary, we believe the Working Group should leverage industry initiatives, such as the Responsible Care program, and build on well-established regulatory programs. These programs provide a strong framework for managing chemical safety and security and we look forward to working with the Working Group and other stakeholders on continuous enhancements as we work together prevent future incidents.”
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