Security efforts

Jan. 1, 2006
SECURITY efforts are an on-going issue for chemical plants and require constant oversight, said Donna Kasuska of Safetybridge Inc. She made the remarks

SECURITY efforts are an on-going issue for chemical plants and require constant oversight, said Donna Kasuska of Safetybridge Inc.

She made the remarks at the National Association of Chemical Distributors Operations Seminar and Trade Show September 14-16 in San Jose, California.

“There is so much to do in plant and transport security and there is so much more to do,” she said. Although technological security equipment is important, plant managers can reduce risk by making their facilities less attractive to terrorists and others who may wish to cause damage, she added.

She recommended that managers use Responsible Distribution Process security guidelines provided by NACD on its Web site at

Legislative action

Kasuska also predicted that legislative action will be taken to require security processes, but she anticipates companies will be allowed ample time to comply.

“The big issue is criminal penalties for non-compliance (should they be included in the legislation),” she added.

Meanwhile she offered some suggestions to minimize risk, such as smaller quantities of product, divided inventory, just-in-time supply, surge capacity elimination, and intermediate storage.

“Design your facility to eliminate unnecessary complexity, thus reducing opportunity for error and mis-operation,” she said.

Companies can replace a material with a less hazardous one and use materials under less hazardous conditions, such as dilution, lowering temperature and pressure, and applying secondary containment. “Secondary containment can reduce your worse-case scenario,” she said.

Product handling

Kasuska pointed out that the more often a product has to be handled, the greater the security risk, so seeking ways to reduce the number of times it is handled can be beneficial.

She recommended managers make a vulnerability assessment that takes into account employees, visitors, contractors, and community members.

Managers should evaluate property vulnerability in buildings, equipment, chemical inventory, pipelines, water supply, and boilers.

Emergency and response crisis management should include written procedures and practice drills, headcount procedure, a crisis communication system, and evidence preservation measures.

She pointed out that loading areas can be vulnerable to security breaches and should have remote cameras to monitor activities in the area.

Likely company targets should be prioritized and site security plans should be in force. “Pick the plan that fits into your organization best,” she said.

Plans should include physical security, such as access control, perimeter protection, security officers, and backup systems.

“We have to make our plants secure,” she said. “Sometime a lock is a simple solution.”

Closets and storage areas should be locked, although locks may be inconvenient. “But you need to consider locking them,” she added.

Another important part of security lies with employees and raising their awareness. They should be trained to wear identification badges and see that the rule is enforced. Employees should not take company information home to work on it, particularly if they are using home computers.