All businesses that work with hazardous materials are susceptible to uncontrolled or threatened releases, of which the consequences can prove dire if not handled properly.
As a result, many companies choose to outsource their emergency response as an alternative to training, equipping and maintaining an emergency response team in-house. In most circumstances, outsourcing means identifying and qualifying an emergency response contractor (or perhaps two or three, to ensure availability) to respond on an on-call basis to spill events PRIOR to an event occurring.
Fortunately, there are hazmat emergency response teams that are specially trained and equipped to deal with such circumstances.
How Does Having A Hazmat Emergency Response Team Work?
An emergency response company will have a fully-staffed, fully-trained hazmat emergency response team that is available and ready 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Establishing a relationship in advance allows for fast response times, with experienced supervisors who coordinate with all responsible agencies (such as local fire and rescue) to limit liability and costs.
Emergency response preparedness and planning is a very detailed and costly program that involves equipping and training your hazmat team. Training typically includes 24 to 40 hours of combined classroom education and hands-on instruction in practical spill response techniques. OSHA mandates annual refresher training, and prudent EHS managers recognize the need for frequent drilling to maintain team readiness.
Equipment requirements vary depending upon the nature of the potential emergency response scenarios to which the hazmat team is expected to respond. Typical equipment includes protective clothing, air monitoring equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus, tools and absorbent materials that can cost thousands of dollars.
These are all maintained by your contractor with no extra out of pocket expense for your business.
What Are The Benefits?
Whether you need to control a situation or stop a potentially dangerous one, a fully-staffed HazMat team can:
The first danger that HazMat emergency teams will respond to during chemical spills is human exposure. Serious health problems can occur in people who are exposed to chemicals through direct contact. Depending on the extent of the spill, indirect hazardous fumes can also affect employees and even the wider community. A trained team will conduct necessary health evaluations to ensure people’s safety.
In the event of an oil or chemical spill, a HazMat team will work quickly and efficiently to prevent the onset of a fire or explosion. If an emergency disaster actually manifests, a HazMat team will work to identify the cause of the crisis. At this point, part of the team may restrict access to certain areas onsite while others tackle the source of the problem.
Preserve the Environment
Chemicals pose a serious threat to the environment and surrounding wildlife if not dealt with properly. A HazMat team will ensure that appropriate cleaning measures are carried out after the emergency has been resolved. You can prevent the spread of contaminated water supplies or agricultural sites by consulting with a professional HazMat team.
A Hazmat Emergency Response Team will comply with all State and Federal regulatory requirements. Elevating the concerns most businesses have when such an emergency occurs.
Establish Your Account In Advance
By establishing an account with a firm, you can satisfy your regulatory requirements for a hazardous waste contingency plan by having an established relationship with an emergency response company in the event of any hazardous materials emergency.
Here is a list of features of coordinating with a contractor in advance:
- Faster response times
- Team know what types of materials they are dealing with
- By knowing what’s present they can anticipate the types of emergencies that are possible
- You are provided with an emergency response rate sheet
- No surprise pricing
- Clean up crews work around your schedule
- Immediate response times for emergencies
- Weekend scheduling so production does not stop
Finding the Right Company
Finding qualified contractors is essential and best performed by your Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Manager or an environmental professional aware of appropriate criteria and experienced in such evaluations.
Preparing to deal with a significant hazardous waste emergency is good business, but the implementation of an in-house emergency response team can be very costly and time consuming. Many companies are not willing to take on the additional responsibilities and cost for such a program.
Finding a qualified hazmat emergency response team from a properly licensed and experienced environmental company is a wise alternative to protect your firm.