Safety in chemical industrys numbers

Safety in chemical industry's numbers

Calling its security code the “benchmark for the manufacturing sector,” the chemical industry is serving notice that it takes a back seat to no one when it comes to safety.

Greg Lebedev, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (www.americanchemistry.com), recently informed Tom Ridge, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that all 140 ACC member companies have completed vulnerability assessments on all of their facilities.

In addition, ACC companies met the industry’s own December 31, 2003, deadline to implement site security enhancements for their highest priority facilities. This was a requirement of the ACC’s mandatory Responsible Care Security Code. The security code was approved by the ACC board of directors shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and imposes specific company obligations to safeguard chemical operations from potential terrorist attacks.

“Security has always been a fundamental duty of our business,” says Lebedev. “We’ll continue to enhance security at our facilities in partnership with our communities, first responders, law enforcement and the intelligence communities.”

The chemical industry group encouraged the Bush Administration to promote federal security legislation that would empower DHS to require all chemical facilities — not just ACC members — to address security vulnerabilities.

ACC member companies conducted vulnerability assessments on 1,900 facilities and have already implemented security enhancements at their highest priority facilities. The remainder are on track to implement additional security measures by the end of 2004.

The ACC claims to represent about 90% of the nearly $500 billion chemical production in the U.S. Its Responsible Care initiative, now in its 16th year, has guided the industry’s safety and security performance. ACC launched its mandatory security program under Responsible Care in June 2002, after extensive consultation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Coast Guard, the former Office of Homeland Security and other federal, state and local security and intelligence officials.

ACC’s security code requires companies to perform security vulnerability assessments and prioritize each facility into four tiers, based on the nature of the assets at the facility, the consequences of a terrorist attack and other factors.

Responsible Care members include rail and motor carriers. Each of the large U.S. and Canadian railroads, as well as 50 other transportation service providers, are Responsible Care Partners. LT

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April, 2004

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