MANY companies today are operating with fewer personnel, government regulations are increasing, and acquisitions and divestitures are resulting in a rapidly changing operational environment.
To manage emergency response plans efficiently within those parameters calls for Web-based systems that offer an option for some storage operators.
That was the message from Andy McClish of TransMontaigne at the Independent Liquid Terminals Association 2005 Operating Conference June 6-8 in Houston, Texas.
“These changing factors today frequently lead to more responsibilities and challenges for environmental, health, and safety personnel,” he said. “This dynamic environment complicates the process of developing practical, user-friendly response plans and makes it extremely difficult to effectively maintain them.”
On the other hand, Web-based systems are fully scalable and enhance management in the current fluid operating environment. An integrated database incorporates all or selected plans on a companywide basis, he added.
Web-based systems have been developed to assist response operations for refining, marketing, pipeline, exploration and production, manufacturing, and power industries. A company can make the information available through its intranet or through the Internet.
McClish pointed out that the programs should contain elements that make them user-friendly, including something as simple as changing a person's phone number when necessary.
A Web site maintenance interface, on a separate Web site, allows the Web-based response system to be updated with little effort.
With integrated database technology, information duplication is minimized and plans become consistent and streamlined.
Advantages of the program also include reduced training time due to unvarying formats, less expense for paper and other printing costs, and the capability to customize and expand client specifications.
One of the major advantages is the speed available to download critical information to be added to response plans, including maps, photos, plot plans, and drawings — and the speed that makes them available in an emergency.
Another positive aspect for a Web-based system is to reduce paper copies, but one or two copies of information handled should be on file, he added.
He recommended that the program contain the latest version of response plans and give accessibility to multiple users in various locations.
Among the items that can be included online are forms, response guide, Spill Prevention, Control & Countermeasures (SPCC) plans, fire pre-plans, security plans, business continuity plans, dock operations manuals, and vessel response plans.
“These systems are designed to grow with company acquisitions and allow seamless plan integration of acquired assets,” he said.