Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Record Keeping and Site Inspections 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 Section 2104: Record Keeping; Site Inspections.


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

·        Minimum SSP Requirements under HR 5577

·        Risk Based Performance Standards under HR 5577

·        Alternative Security Programs under HR 5577


It should go without saying that for this regulation to be effective there are going to have to be provisions for federal over site and verification. This section specifically requires that each covered facility that is required to submit an SVA or SSP to maintain a current copy of those documents on site. It also provides for the Secretary or his designee “at a reasonable time and on presentation of credentials” to have the right of entry to any covered facility.


Inspections and Verification


This legislation gives the Secretary or his designee the legal right to conduct “chemical facility security inspections and verifications”. It also allows for the Secretary to write regulations that establish third party inspectors to conduct these inspections. During the inspection it requires that the inspector will:


·        “consult with owners, operators, and supervisory and non-supervisory employees of the covered chemical facility, and any employee representatives, as appropriate; and”


·        “provide an opportunity to such owners, operators, employees, and employee representatives to be present during the inspection or verification for the purpose of providing assistance when and where it is appropriate.”


These ‘consultation’ provisions are not found in the current CFATS regulations. While the details will be explicated in the revised regulations (if this law passes) it seems that there will be more people involved in any inspections than normally involved in regulatory visits. It might include a requirement to meet with a ‘Site Security Committee’ and will certainly involve a parade of people following an inspector on a walk around.


Requests for Records


As part of the over site process the Secretary can request that covered facilities submit appropriate information to DHS to ensure that SVA’s were properly performed and SSP’s are adequately implemented. Alternatively, the Secretary or his designee can, “, on presentation of credentials, may at reasonable times obtain access to and copy any documentation” necessary to perform that over site.


When handling such information DHS is required to provide appropriate security and to handle the documents in an appropriate manner. This requirement is implied for third-party inspectors designated by the Secretary.


Employee Representatives


Any facility required to submit an SVA or SSP that has an ‘employee representative’ is required to provide copies of the SVA and SSP to that representative. The employee representative is required to provide the same sort of protections to those documents as is the facility (detailed under Section 2108).




Any facility that to “fails to maintain, produce, or allow access to records or to the property of the covered chemical facility” as required under this legislation will receive a compliance order from the Secretary. This is the first step in a procedure (detailed in later sections) that could lead to fines and even an order to stop operations.

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