Oil. That three-letter word invites a flood of political, ethical and environmental debates. Behind all those conversations, the oil industry has been working in the background for years to ensure the safety of the facilities, the workers and the planet. Tumbling oil prices are putting pressure on companies to cut costs. Is this placing the safety of the environment and oil workers at risk?
Important aspects of preparedness need to be maintained. Organizations should be undertaking assessment of how they manage response equipment, training, procedures, and protocols. Ensuring operational readiness for a response is maintained. As this is essential for a number of operational activities;
Employee safety should hold importance for every company. First and foremost, every employee has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. No employees (or their families) should have to suffer because of avoidable dangers in the workplace. By ensuring a response capability, creating a safe and healthy workplace, companies also protect themselves.
Reducing Environmental Damage
The environmental impact of oil is often negative because it is toxic to almost all forms of life. An oil spill is a release of oil into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, pipelines, railcars, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil. Maintaining emergency response capabilities is essential to reduce the impact of any form of oil spill.
Compliance with Regulation
There are numerous regulations that oil companies must follow to ensure their ability to respond in an emergency from MARPOL regulations to EPA rregulations, for example. If government or international regulations are applicable to operations, companies must prioritize regulatory compliance of emergency response capabilities in order to minimize burdens resulting from fines, negative publicity, and potential shutdown.
Reducing Property Damage
An emergency is defined as a sudden state of danger that occurs unexpectedly and that demands immediate action to protect personnel and property. When it comes to oil the risks are increased . It is the goal and purpose of emergency preparedness to protect the safety and security of assets. To respond efficiently, oil companies need to ensure effective implementation of planning, all personnel designated to carry out specific responsibilities are expected to know and understand the policies and procedures outlined in response plans and other associated supporting documents. There is also a need to ensure equipment readiness to support response by personnel.
Ability to Recover from Business Interruption
In an emergency situation, it is important to have a process in place for preparing, mitigating, responding, and recovery from a natural or man-made hazard event. Important functions in managing emergencies include planning (although critical, it is not the only component). Training, conducting drills, testing, and coordinating with the community are also important functions.
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