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Keep Your Business Safe: Take These Steps to Protect Your Chemical Storage Facility

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    Protecting your business from potential theft and other property crimes is important. Besides providing a safer environment for your employees and clients, site security will also reduce crime. This will protect your assets and cut business costs.

    When your business involves the storage of harmful chemicals, there is no excuse for careless security measures.

    To provide top-notch security for your chemical storage facility, you will need to develop a security plan. This security plan will need to address several checklist items.

    Keep reading to learn the steps you need to take to secure your storage facility.

    Develop a Jobsite Security Plan

    Regardless of what business you are protecting, you need a comprehensive job site security plan

    You need to start at the basics. Ask yourself what your site’s security threats and risks are. This will vary from site to site. 

    Determine if you need to be using asset-tracking technology. Do you have equipment or inventory that you need to keep track of? 

    Vet your workforce. Knowing who works at the site now can help reduce issues later.

    If you can compartmentalize where certain groups work, you can isolate risks. For instance, if you put in place a badge system that restricts access to certain zones, you can narrow down who may be a suspect in the event of an incident.

    Train all your employees in safety and security. An alert workforce is a great deterrent for petty crimes and unsafe practices. 

    Remember that your job site safety and security is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. The investment in high-tech security systems should be a given. The upfront cost will save you in the long-run. 

    If you own or operate a business that is high-risk for crime, you need to consider extra criteria for your job site security plan. 

    Secure Your Chemical Storage Facility

    The safety and security of a chemical storage facility are more critical than safety and security at most other job sites. 

    You will need to make sure your chemical storage is up to regulation. How you store and handle chemicals onsite is heavily regulated for a reason.

    Chemicals can be dangerous if they are improperly used or stored. They can cause serious injury and environmental damage if they are spilled.

    Improper disposal of chemicals can lead to unsafe conditions at disposal sites. It can also lead to heavy fines.

    Inherent hazards exist whenever chemicals are present. Make sure you are storing chemicals in accord with federal and state regulations to reduce those hazards.

    The following is a quick overview of some site security regulations that you will need to consider. For a more comprehensive look at the regulations governing chemical storage, take a look at the EPA’s Toxic Substance Control Act.  

    Onsite Chemical Storage Regulations

    Your chemical storage facility requires special precautions, such as signs. 

    Some considerations for safety at a storage facility include:

    • maintaining the correct temperature of the building;
    • adding ignition controls;
    • increasing ventilation;
    • requiring proper segregation;
    • proper identification of stored chemicals.

    Segregation principles ensure that incompatible chemicals are not stored together. A physical barrier or distance is required for proper segregation. 

    In the event of a spill, proper segregation will keep reactive mixtures from forming. 

    Storage regulations also ensures that chemicals are properly labeled and identified. 

    Flammable chemicals must be stored in dedicated flame cabinets or storage rooms. Flammable chemical containers should be grounded to avoid electric ignition.

    Don’t store chemicals on shelves above eye-height. Don’t allow chemical containers to block egress routes. 

    Routine Inspections

    Storage areas need to be routinely inspected and maintained. Chemical cabinets and rooms have to be inspected at least annually. 

    Inspections should look for improper conditions in chemical storage areas, such as:

    • Improper storage of chemicals;
    • Leaking or deteriorating containers, or spilled chemicals;
    • Temperature extremes;
    • Blocked exits or a lack of lighting;
    • Doors that are blocked open or have broken locks;
    • Trash accumulation;
    • Fire equipment that is blocked, broken or missing; 
    • A lack of appropriate information or warning signs that are not visible.  

    Following storage regulations prevents accidents.

    Keeping An Onsite Inventory

    You should keep a detailed inventory of all chemicals stored onsite. 

    Keeping an inventory will let you know if there has been theft or other issues with chemical use. It will also help you avoid over-ordering chemicals for future use.

    Reducing the number of chemicals stored on site will reduce the risk associated with the chemicals. 

    During inspections, you should remove unwanted and expired chemicals. You should pursue proper disposal. 

    Maintain Emergency Equipment

    Your storage facility should be equipped with all the necessary emergency equipment.

    The following should be readily available:

    • First aid supplies;
    • Emergency phone numbers;
    • Eyewash and emergency shower equipment;
    • Fire extinguishers;
    • Spill cleanup supplies; and 
    • Personal protective equipment. 

    Personnel need to be trained in proper use of all emergency equipment.  

    Dept of Homeland Security Requirements

    Depending on the types of chemicals stored at your site, you may be subject to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations.  

    The DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) apply to facilities that provide chemical manufacturing, storage and distribution.

    If you store or plan to store any of the 300 chemicals listed in Appendix A you need to follow CFATS. 

    You need to report your facility to DHS, who will then decide if you are a high-risk facility. High-risk facilities have stringent security regulations in place to prevent terrorist-related incidents. 

    Some facilities may be required to have monitored video surveillance.

    Your Facility’s Physical Security Program

    Once your chemicals are securely stored, you want to keep them that way. Even if you don’t have to follow DHS regulations for safety, you need to implement physical security that protects your business. 

    The security program needs to address protection of the outer perimeter, the inner perimeter, and the interior.

    To have a highly effective physical security system, you need to implement two or more forms of security at each level. 

    Outer Perimeter Security

    The outer perimeter of your business is most easily thought of as the property lines.

    By controlling the outer perimeter, you control who has access to your business. 

    Effective forms of security at the outer perimeter include a security fence and guard station or check point. Gates, with designated entrances and exits, are another great choice for outer perimeter security. 

    You should maintain a visitor log, and consider requiring escorts for each visitor to your site.

    You will also want to make sure that parking areas and outside spaces are well lit. Good lighting is a great deterrent. 

    Visible security cameras, and signs posted at the fencing that alert would-be-intruders to the presence of the cameras, cut down on crimes of opportunity.  Having a monitored video surveillance solution can reduce costs of on-site personnel and be more effective at monitoring large areas of perimeter.

    Keeping unauthorized people off the property, and away from your facility, reduces the chance of crime or accident. 

    Inner Perimeter Security

    Your inner perimeter consists of the doors, windows, and walls of your facility.

    You protect your inner perimeter with locks and alarms. You do this by limiting points of access, capping how many people have keys, and restricting who can enter certain buildings.   

    The purpose of inner perimeter security is to keep intruders out of restricted areas. 

    Badges with photo identification, that must be visibly worn and used to badge into each building, will help maintain inner perimeter security. 

    Interior Security

    Interior security is your last level of security. This protects the interiors of your buildings, such as your chemical storage rooms. 

    Motion detectors in restricted rooms, and monitored video surveillance are all great for interior security. 

    Remotely monitored video surveillance allows trained guards to actively monitor a greater number of hallways and rooms. 

    Outsourcing Security

    One final question you’ll need to answer in order to finalize your security plan is whether or not to hire an outside security company.

    There are several reasons why this is a great idea. First, it eliminates the time required to hire, manage and replace personnel. The security company will provide highly-trained professionals with an on site presence if that is required, or with a remote monitored video solution. 

    It also allows you flexibility. If an event is occurring that requires an increase in security presence for the short-term, a security firm will be able to devote more resources to your job site’s safety.  

    Security is more impartial. Particularly in the case of remote video surveillance, the guards monitoring the video have no bias toward or against certain employees. 

    Perhaps the compromise of internal security coupled with outside surveillance is the most ideal. 

     For a Safer Business 

    Developing a sound security program that address all three levels of security, making sure your chemical storage is up to regulations, and working with DHS to protect high-risk facilities will go a long way toward making your chemical storage facility a safer place. 

    Protecting your business from potential crimes, whether theft or terrorism, is important. It provides a safe environment for your employees and clients. It protects your assets and business. 

    When you are in the business of storing potentially harmful chemicals, there is no excuse for second-rate security. 

    Contact us today for a free online quote for services. Let us help keep your business safe. 


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