Once again, this week, delegates from companies ranging from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia who handle chemicals of all types, have converged on the Fairmont, Dubai to improve their ability to prevent chemical spills and respond to mitigate any effects and consequences in the, now, less likely event that releases actually occur. Dave Annells, a massively experienced process engineer, chemical industry consultant and international trainer, who presents this course, is delighted with the profound learning displayed so far.
- “All chemicals are hazards” – or could be if mixed with non-compatible chemicals, such as in poorly managed warehouses or storage systems;
- “Big disasters could be from small acts” – significant emissions have historically resulted from apparently trivial acts or omissions or misunderstandings;
- “Water can kill” – demonstrably water can become a contaminant which can cause chain reactions, or explosions and lead to fatalities.
- “Safety culture has to be spread” – providing workers with the knowledge and awareness about how to handle chemicals and respect their hazards to reduce risk, and responders with the knowledge of how to respond safely and effectively, according to a rehearsed plan, leads to cost effective operations. Good safety is good business. Poor safety is bad business. Recently some major companies have learnt this the hard way. There is definitely a cost benefit to doing this well.
But it is not all about providing PPE and equipment to capture or disperse spills. It is about equipping operators, technicians, engineers, supervisors and managers with the correct understanding of what they are handling within a culture that supports a safer approach. Ultimately all chemical release incidents are down to human error. It’s all about people – educating people, assisting people’s behaviour, communicating between people, and protecting people and the communities and world in which we all live.
Using a mix of training techniques and lots of case studies, the delegates’ eyes are being opened to errors and culture that have historically been precursors to chemical releases of all types. The delegates can appreciate the mistakes made in the past, are learning how to avoid repeating these same mistakes by discussing successful designs and approaches, and commit to actions to ensure this learning is adopted. Too many others have failed to implement this learning in the past. This is a chance to make the present and the future better.
The training course: Chemical Spills, Safety Precautions & Response Action concludes on Thursday 9 November, and will undoubtedly help reduce the number of future chemical release incidents as well as improve the emergency response plans for those that may occur.