What types of major accidents could occur in a facility?

The result of an unexpected disaster or catastrophic event can be devastating for a company. Many examples from the past may come to mind, or even personal examples that you have ex- perienced during your professional life. Being prepared for the unexpected is an ongoing issue for many organizations.

Even considering all disasters during the design and construction process of the facilities, un- foreseen events such as the force of nature, can add new challenges to a company’s normal operation. In some cases, the geographic location of the facilities in problematic areas can give clues about meteorological and environmental risks to be considered. Other times, the laws of probability can bring unwelcome and unexpected events.

Among the disasters that test a company’s resilience, are:

  • Natural disasters:
    • Flood
    • Earthquake
    • Landslide
    • Avalanche
    • Severe Storms
    • Hurricanes
    • Tornadoes
    • Forest fires
    • Volcanic eruptions
    • Tsunamis
  • Jobsite accidents:
    • Tipping over a crane or dropping a large load
    • Dropping a building into the street
    • Starting a fire
    • Slip and falls
    • Causing a toxic, flammable, or hazardous liquid or vapor release
    • Transportation accident
    • Falling objects
  • Acts of violence:
    • Suicide
    • Sexual assault
    • Homicide
    • Hostage Situation
    • Physical Assault
  • Acts of terrorism:
    • Bomb Threats
    • Chemical Release
    • Sabotage
    • Radiation Release
    • Kidnapping
  • Negligence:
    • Unforeseen collapse
    • Unexpected fires
    • Explosions and overpressurization events
    • Overloading of structures

What could happen in your facility if there was a major accident?

As noted above, there are many kinds of unexpected events that may cause the end-of-life of certain industrial facilities. Many of these accidents are due to unsafe working conditions (buildings and structures, plants, tools, equipment, machines, and materials), unsafe acts (lack of knowledge or skills of the worker), or other causes.

A crisis has an immediate and profound impact on your business. In case of a major accident, there are some dimensions of the industrial activity that may be impacted:

  • Company:
    • Brand reputation
    • Economic impact
  • Society:
    • Loss of life
    • Supply chain
    • Labour
  • Environment
    • Restoration of development
    • Transformation

What are the main phases to be considered in case of an unexpected end-of-life event?

In case of an unexpected end-of-life event, the following phases should be considered:

 

Contact emergency authorities & crisis management team

Help victims & secure the scene

Perform a risk assessment

Develop action plan and statement

Call emergency services immediately Help and assist the victims if possible Set a meeting with the Crisis Management Team Discuss and decide your next actions
Contact your Crisis Management Team Leader Stop work at the site Prepare a list of employees onsite, safe employees, and victims Prepare initial statement content
Gather as much information as possible about the event Set a security perimeter and exclusion zones Identify possible toxic, chemical, radioactive or other hazardous material consequences or spillages
Consult your emergency procedures Make way for ambulances Evaluate the environmental, economic, and reputational impact

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