Friday, March 21, 2008

Minimum SSP Requirements under HR 5577

This is part of a continuing series taking a detailed look at the provisions of the new Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Act of 2008 recently introduced in Congress (HR 5577IH). Today’s entry looks at the part of Section 2103 dealing with the minimum requirements for Site Security Plans, Section 2103(b)(2).


Previous blogs in this series include:


·        CFATA of 2008 Introduced as HR. 5577

·        Personnel Background Checks and HR 5577

·        Ranking of Chemical Facilities by HR 5577

·        General SVA and SSP Requirements under HR 5577

·        Minimum SVA Requirements under HR 5577


As noted under the section on the minimum requirements for SVA’s, only those covered facilities in ‘high-risk tiers’ are required to complete a Site Security Plan (SSP) under this proposed regulation. It is still unsure if this means that some of the facilities on the current ‘high-risk’ list will fall off of the list.


Security Measures


This legislation requires that the Site Security plan address the following security measures:


·        “address the vulnerabilities of the facility identified in the security vulnerability assessment; and”


·        “meet the risk-based chemical facility security performance standards established by the Secretary.”


The risk-based performance standards are very similar to the ones covered in the current CFATS regulations. There is not enough room in one blog to cover the performance standards and the other requirements set out in this section. The performance standards will be covered more in depth in a subsequent blog.


Periodic Drills and Exercises


The site security plan is required to address the schedule and plan for the conduct of drills and exercises to aid in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan. Those drills must include the participation of site employees, both supervisory and non-supervisory, as well as employee representative (union officials). The plan must also provide for the participation of local law enforcement and first responders.


The current CFATS regulations only addressed the issue of drills and exercises in passing. Section 27.255 required facilities to keep records of the drills and exercises that were conducted. The specific inclusion of this requirement is a clear recognition that a plan, no matter how good, has little chance of being successfully employed in an emergency if it has not been properly trained and exercised.


Emergency Response Plan


Recognizing that there is no way to stop all terrorist attacks, the legislation requires that the SSP includes provisions for the response to a successful attack. The plan must lay out the “equipment, plan and procedures” that will be used to respond “in the event of a chemical facility terrorist incident”.


Since every facility will have its own peculiar problems, each emergency response plan will be unique, but this act doe require that it cover, as a minimum “site evacuation, release mitigation, and containment plans.”


Emergency Response Plans are covered in the performance standards section of CFATS under the heading “Response” {Section 27.230(9)}. While the guidance providedin this new legislation is brief; it is more detailed than CFATS.


Government Cooperation


Very few chemical facilities have the personnel on site that would be required to respond to more than the simplest terrorist attack. This means that the facility would have to rely on outside assistance from the government to respond to an attack. This legislation requires that the coordination undertaken to support this plan needs to be spelled out in the plan, including that made with law enforcement and emergency responders.


Site Security Officer


In order to avoid confusion in an emergency response situation where outside agencies are going to have to work with the facility management in a confusing and fluid situation,  the legislation specifies that the site security plan identify “the security officer who will be the point of contact for incident management purposes”.


Enhanced Security


During periods of increased threat, the facility will have to ramp up its security procedures. This section requires that the SSP specifies the actions that the facility will put into place “when the Secretary determines that heightened terrorist threat conditions exist.”


Inherently Safer Technology


This section of the bill provides a brief mention of the requirements for assessing and perhaps putting into action “a plan to implement methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack.” The detailed requirements for that assessment and implantation are covered in much more detail in other sections of the legislation. The details will be dealt with in a later blog.

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