It was a blessedly slow news cycle over the Thanksgiving holidays. Buried in the stories about the awful travel weather, the Turkey pardons and Black Friday craziness was a story that caught my interest here in New York. In New Jersey, land of chemical companies and refineries, a large producer of a highly flammable chemical, found themselves at the center of an unsettling news story. The company failed to provide local Emergency Services with information concerning the types of chemicals and the volumes produced at their facility, as mandated under New Jersey law. To make matters worse, they were also found to have failed to develop threat assessment and Risk Analysis records with supporting contingency plans. The plant in the story was located less than two miles from an Elementary school in a primarily residential area. They were ultimately fined four thousand dollars, the maximum penalty provided for under New Jersey law. Sadly, a spokesman for the state indicated that recent audits of New Jersey refineries and chemical producers uncovered many plants that were not meeting minimum requirements in these areas. In particular, the spokesman was concerned that the failure to notify local Emergency Services such as Fire and Police could lead to greater risk for first responders and less effective action in the case of an emergency event. Although not specifically mandated by law, the official pointed out that notifying regional Emergency Services, in addition to the closest local Fire and Police responders is a proven best practice. Regional Emergency Services will almost certainly be called upon for support in the event of an incident or emergency. Not understanding the chemicals produced, the likely resulting health and environmental threats to both the first responders and surrounding community puts everyone involved at greater and needless risk.Read More
Quality Management 2.0 Blog
A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about a warning I had once received to carefully distinguish between fads and fashion versus legitimate innovations and quality tools that stand the test of time. Risk Assessment is certainly not new but it seems to currently be the popular kid in the class. The idea of risk analysis as part of Design and Process FMEAs have been the standard within the Auto Industry for many years. Likewise, Risk Assessment is and has been an important element of Environmental Risk Management.
Failed projects, even if not directly your fault, can be detrimental to your career.
It was the end of a long and frustrating day. My long-time colleague, Tisha Tomlinson and I were discussing the situation and trying to plan a strategy that met the needs of all involved parties, over dirty martinis with extra olives. We had spent the day with various Quality and EH&S personnel at one of our large, long-time clients. The company senior management was pushing to expand their product usage to include EH&S.
Topics: Quality Management Systems, Quality Management Software, CAPA Software, CAPA, Tisha Tomlinson, Mary McAtee, Environmental Quality Management, Corrective Actions and Preventive Actions, Quality, Environmental Management System, Environmental Management Software, Environmental Compliance Software, EH&S, Environmental, Auditing Software