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Miscellaneous and On-Site Emergency Plan

Safety Audit
Safety programme auditing is an important tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the safety system. This has been used for a long time by a few larger organisations in the developed countries. Its true value has not been recognized by many organisations. Now, Mexican disaster, Chernobyl, etc safety audit has been introduced in may organisations worldwide to evaluate the safety programme so that corrective steps can be taken to avoid / minimize losses. Safety Audit, like financial audit, should be part of the management practice to ensure that critical business operations are carried out in a profitable, efficient and safe way. Just as, the management would not accept the financial statement as accurate reflection of organization's position unless the accounts had been audited, effectiveness of safety programme cannot be judged by mere reduction in the frequency or severity rate of accidents.

Objectives of a Safety Audit is:-

  1. To critically evaluate the safety programme.
  2. To analyse and apprise critically the company's efforts to identify, evaluate and control all potential accidental losses.
  3. To critically evaluate the level of occupational safety and health standards and their compliance.

The instruments used should include evaluation of the following:

  1. The prevention and control of occupational injury and disease
  2. The prevention and control of fire and explosion
  3. Prevention and control of toxic release
  4. Prevention and control of accidental damage to tools, equipment and buildings
  5. Prevention and control of production delays and interruptions due to all types of incidents

Safety audit is an useful tool in predicting the accident potential so that action can be taken well in advance to prevent the occurrence of loss producing events which may be in the form of accident or property damage. It is duty of the management to perfect the performance for the best utilization of manpower and property with modern management tools like safety audit to evaluate their safety performance and take appropriate action, at the right time

On-Site Emergency Plan

A major emergency occurring at a plant is one that may cause serious injuries, loss of life, extensive damage to property or environment or serious disruption inside or outside the plants. This may demand the rescue and relief measures on a war footing to handle it effectively and quickly. Within the high risk technology industries, the need for well planned measures should be self-evident. No matter how well a process is controlled and safeguarded by instruments and process safety procedures, it is inevitable that there is a residual which is capable of causing a variety of emergencies

The Factories Act, 1948 as amended in the year 1987 under Section 41B (4) requires that Every Occupier shall draw up on On-Site Emergency Plan and detailed disaster control measures for his plant and make them known to the employees and to the general public living in the vicinity of the plant

Its objective is to reduce the severity of loss following a particular hazardous incidents. At the same time, it must be clearly understood that it is not a substitute for maintaining good standards of working consistent with requirements of safety and health inside the plants. On-Site and Off-Site Emergency plans are to be separately prepared but they must be consistent with each other

On Site Emergency Plan

The basic and essential features of emergency planning are:

  1. Assessing the size and nature of the events foreseen and the probability of their occurrence. The events that are commonly having serious implications are major fire hazards causing serious burns to persons or resulting in collapse of structures or release of toxic substances in the environment.
  2. Liaison with local authorities including the emergency services.
  3. Procedures:
    1. raising the alarm
    2. communications both within and outside the works
    3. rescue / evacuation of personnel and containment of emergency.
  4. Appointment of key personnel and specifying the duties and responsibilities such as:
    1. Main Controller
    2. Incident Controller
    3. Other personnel identified to perform the emergency duties
  5. Emergency Control Centre
  6. Details of action to be taken on-site
  7. Details of action to be taken off-site
  8. Publicising to all concerned
  9. Training and rehearsal
  10. Reviewing and updating

Alarm and Communication
It is necessary to communicate for (i) recognizing the emergency, (ii) raising of the alarm, (iii) the declaration of the emergency, and (iv) the implementation of the evacuation plan, if necessary. Therefore, effective signals and procedures should be devised to communicate

Communication is a critical factor in handling an emergency. To control the situation by the earliest possible action, the practice should be that any employee can raise an emergency alarm

The choice of a suitable alarm system will depend on local circumstances and will be influenced by the size of the plant, type of hazard and the existing alarms system. Essential requirements are that there should be an adequate number of readily identified points from where the alarm can be raised and this needs to be clearly indicated by sign boards and by indications in the plans

In areas where there is a high level of noise, it may be necessary to install more than one audible alarm transmitted or flashing lights. Automatic alarms may be considered appropriate on some sites

Appointment of Personnel And Definition Of Duties

The primary task of the Works Incident Controller is to got the scene of the emergency, make an assessment of the situation and decide whether a major emergency exists or is likely to develop. On his decision, he will inform the Works Main Controller, who alone will be authorized to activate the major emergency procedures

The Works Incident Controller co-ordinates the plant and the outside emergency services. He is chosen from the senior most technical personnel and has the general responsibility of directing operations from the emergency control center. After assuming command, he guides and oversees the actions of the Works Incident Controller. He gives overall directions for the shutting down of the plant and evacuating the persons. He has to guide and arrange for the liaison with fire, police and other local agencies such as district administration. He has to arrange for the control of traffic movement within the works. He would be authorized to issue statements through a trained Public Relations Man to the press media about the emergency situation. He should arrange for the log of the emergency to be maintained and he would be in overall control of the rehabilitation of personnel from the affected areas during and after the emergency

Emergency Control Center

Emergency Control Center should be established and equipped with adequate means of communication to areas inside and outside the plant together with relevant data and equipment which will assist those manning the center to be posted with the developing situation and enable them to plan accordingly. The following details are required to be kept in readiness (1) A plan to indicate areas where there are large inventories of hazardous materials; locations of radio-active sources if any, storage of safety equipment, fire-water systems, alternative sources of water, road system, assembly points and first aid centers. There should be adequate note pads, pens, pencils to record messages received and any instructions for delivery by runner, nominal role of employees, list of key personnel etc. Information relating to antidotes, hospital facilities are to be available in a well -organized manner making it possible to have access to it and to use it with minimum loss of time

It should be sited in an area of minimum risk and close to a road to allow for ready access by radio equipped vehicle for use. An alternative center, similarly equipped should also be available at a different location

Action on Site
Successful handling of the emergency will depend on appropriate action and decisions being taken in the spot. It is not possible to predict every action which may require to be taken. However, some of the major actions that might have to be taken would be

  1. setting in motion the containment procedures or plant shut-down procedures
  2. evacuating the personnel from affected areas, if necessary directing the personnel to pre-determined assembly points
  3. checking the persons including contractors and visitors against the nominal rolls and other documents of security personnel
  4. informing the relatives of the causalities through designated Public Relations Officer who will do it in an appropriate manner
  5. arranging for the authoritative release of information with the approval of the Works Main Controller and through the designated Public Relations / Liaison Officer

Training and Rehearsing

All employees should know the details of emergency plan and they must receive initial training in emergency procedures. Then, at suitable intervals this knowledge must be exercised and the basic plan reviewed and brought up-to-date. It is essential to establish the necessary confident and expertise so that individuals can carry out their allocated duties. Rehearsal of evacuation should be regularly carried out efficiently and should cause minimum disruption to the normal activities

Accounting For Personnel

It is necessary to know that everyone on-site has been accounted for and that the relatives of casualties if any have been appropriately informed. Holidays and sickness absence will have to be taken into account and adequate personnel for relief are made available including replacement for some others who may be off-site at the time engaged on other work

Contractors should maintain a similar list of their personnel on-site. Visitors should be accompanied by a responsible members of the works staff, designated to perform emergency duty

Public Relation

Inevitably a major incident will attract the attention of the press, television and radio services and anxious enquiries from friends and relatives will be flooding the factory. It is essential to make arrangements for authoritative release of information to them. A senior manager who is familiar with procedures of dealing with such situations or a professional Public Relations if available in the factory should be appointed as the sole authoritative sources of information to the news media and others

Declaration of Cessation of Emergency

The Senior Fire Brigade Officer will not signal the end of the emergency until he is satisfied that all the fires are extinguished and there is no risk of re-ignition. In the case of gas escapes, the emergency will be declared ended only when the source of emission has been effectively isolated and gas clouds dispersed well below safe level. Even when the All Clear Signal has been given, great care is needed when re-entering affected areas and no work in connection with salvage, collection of evidence should be commenced until a thorough examination of the area has been carried out. It is particularly important to avoid the introduction of possible sources of ignition such as diesel engines, hand or power operated tools, flame-cutting equipment and so on, until it has been established that no flammable materials remain where they could be ignited

Plan Appraisal and Updating

The matters relating to review of effectiveness of emergency planning should cover: Time limit which is essential for rescuing and evacuating personnel from the scene or confined space for carrying out any emergency measures. It is essential to check whether pre-determined time-limit has been met and if not the impediments, for it should be identified. For example, if 15 mts. is fixed for evacuating the people from confined space, if may be reduced to 10 mts. If considered necessary for the safe evacuation

To check the quantum of emergency equipments like fire fighting equipment, personal protective equipment etc., are required to be provided in the critical areas whether it is adequate or not
Any change made in the plant should also be made to known to all

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