The chemical industry needs methods that take into account that chemical plants are increasingly part of clusters of such plants.

Responders Need More Data on CFATS Facilities' Inventories: GAO

Thirteen of the 15 Local Emergency Planning Committees, consisting of first responders and covering 373 CFATS high-risk facilities, told GAO they did not have access to CFATS data in the secure IP Gateway. By encouraging wider use of the gateway, DHS would have greater assurance that responders have information about high-risk facilities and the chemicals they have on site, the audit report says.

A new Government Accountability Office report finds the first responders are not able to access important information that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security develops from its inspections of facilities that handle hazardous chemicals — facilities that are assessed under the DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. Some of the chemicals at these facilities could be stolen and used to build explosive devices; DHS inspects them to ensure they comply with security standards and shares information about the facilities with local officials so that first responders are prepared for potential security incidents.

GAO, however, found that first responders may not have all the information they need to safely respond to incidents at these facilities. Its audit recommended, among other things, that DHS provide first responders with better access to the information.

There were 29,195 facilities assessed for security risks as of February 2018, and DHS has designated 3,500 of those as high risk and subject to further requirements, according to the audit report. It says as of May 2018, DHS had conducted 3,553 compliance inspections and had begun to update its performance measure for the CFATS program to evaluate security measures implemented both when a facility submitted its initial security plan and again when DHS approves its final security plan. GAO found that DHS' methodology does not measure how facilities' vulnerability is reduced by the implementation and verification of planned security measures during the compliance inspection process.

DHS developed a secure interface called the Infrastructure Protection Gateway that provides access to CFATS facility-specific data on chemical inventories, but GAO found that IP Gateway "is not widely used at the local level." Thirteen of the 15 Local Emergency Planning Committees, consisting of first responders and covering 373 CFATS high-risk facilities, told GAO they did not have access to CFATS data in the IP Gateway.

By encouraging wider use of the gateway, DHS would have greater assurance that responders have information about high-risk facilities and the chemicals they have on site, the audit report says.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark CP

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue