Emergency response planning with UM Storage Ltd: Case study

Be Prepared, the Scout’s motto, could have been coined to describe an Emergency Response Plan (ERP). In the high hazard sector risks run high, so being prepared is essential. That’s the approach Reynolds Training Services (RTS) takes and, indeed, is the backbone of its safety partnership with UM Storage Ltd.

UM Storage operates bulk liquid storage facilities for foodstuffs, feed grade and industrial products in the UK. The company was looking to further strengthen their emergency response systems explained Tom Chambers, Safety Health & Environment Manager, UM Storage Ltd.

“Emergency Preparedness training helps UM Storage meet its legal requirements to our employees, visitors and neighbours,” he said. “A well-planned procedure for dealing with Emergency Preparedness increases our effectiveness when managing potential emergency situations with ‘Practice makes Perfect’ immediately coming to mind.”

UM Storage strategy for safety training

UM Storage liaised with its safety provider, RTS. The IOSH Approved Principles and Practice of Emergency Response was unpackaged, and customised around UM Storage specific procedures at their Merseyside and Humberside sites.

The two-day course, included:

  • Day 1: Outlining the core principles
  • Day 2: Practical elements which incorporate a simulated incident based on UM Storage Major Accident Hazards

“The two-day course was excellent,” commented Mr Chambers. “We also benefited from the fact that it was independently accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH).”

RTS, an accredited centre for IOSH, recently gained approval for its principles and practice of emergency response course. The addition of IOSH added “credibility” and “confidence to the course, said Mr Chambers.

Like many Upper, Lower and Sub COMAH Sites, emergency response is high up UM Storage agenda. Reynolds Training Services managing director John Reynolds explained: “Emergency response plans limit or reduce the consequence of a major accident when planned and deployed effectively”.

So let’s take a look at how Reynolds Training Services and UM Storage worked in partnership to refine and strengthen their emergency response plan, improving standards and fostering compliance in the process.

The safety challenge

No two high hazard sites are the same. Each is unique. Each has their own major accident hazard footprint. And each has its own potential consequences.

ERPs can enable fast and decisive site-wide action to contain the fallout of an incident, saving lives, protecting property and the surrounding community. But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

UM Storage understands this, embracing a safety-first approach. The initial safety challenge was therefore to identify potential hazards and consequences across its Merseyside and Hull sites. Reviewing these enabled the formation and revision of existing Prevention and Mitigation measures.

“Having a ERP plan is fantastic, but leaving a manual on the shelf gathering dust won’t cut it,” said Mr Reynolds. “The contents of any ERP must be communicated, with skills practiced to ensure it can be implemented if required.”

Mr Chambers agreed. Alongside knowledge-based training, the company required a day of practical implementation which simulated real-life hazards with involvement from key stakeholders.

The safety solution

Reynolds Training, in conjunction with UM Storage, set about developing a two-day course around HSG191; the guidance for emergency planning under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations. Clear project deliverables were set. These underscored the need for the course to:

  • Cover knowledge including the roles and responsibilities, resources, the Emergency Control Centre (ECC), and the types of equipment UM Storage were utilising.
  • Understanding what an emergency plan is and the roles of the main and incident controller.
  • Include a practical element to enable Reynolds Training Services to run onsite exercises based on UM Storage major accident hazards, utilising their emergency response plan, and delivering it to a cross section of employees.

The two initial exercises run by Reynolds Training were delivered at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool and King George Dock, Hull. Mr Chambers recalled how both planned exercises included the involvement of the Port Authorities, Emergency Services and Enforcement Officers from both the Environment Agency and the Health & Safety Executive in their combined Roles as the COMAH Competent Authority.

“The exercises presented a variety of scenarios for the UM Storage facilities to deal with, at all levels,” he said. “At the end of the day, everyone stated that they really enjoyed both the training and the opportunity to run such a detailed exercise.”

As part of the delivery process, Reynolds Training Services were also asked to chair a feedback session with UM Storage across both sites. This was designed to aide the coordination of the learning outcomes which emanated from the exercises themselves. Three key questions were floated:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go quite so well?
  3. What can be learned from that for the future?

The safety outcome

The interactive, results-driven course fuelled the competency levels of UM Storage personnel to manage emergency situations. Mr Chambers said it also imparted employees with “added confidence to manage emergencies with a high degree of confidence of a satisfactory outcome in the event of having to deal with an emergency for real”.

Key outcomes include:

  • Improved knowledge
  • Demonstrable performance against UM Storage ERP
  • Demonstrable evidence UM Storage reviewed their plan and can make alterations against it as required
  • IOSH approved certificate

An appetite for a healthily safe strategy

The Emergency Response two-day course formed only one element of the UM Storage strategy for training. Going forward, Mr Chambers said “several other courses” had already been delivered.

Mr Reynolds praised the holistic approach of UM Storage Ltd to safety. Industry, he said, had made great strides and taking a “bigger picture” view of a company’s safety systems marked a “capital investment that would pay dividends” in the long run.

UM Storage is now working with Reynolds Training Services to fulfill its other training needs, including the development of new and existing Bulk Liquid Operators at a number of their terminals.

More about UM Storage

UM Storage, part of the United Molasses Group Ltd, operates bulk liquid storage facilities for foodstuffs, feed grade and industrial products in the UK (Merseyside, Hull, Dagenham & Portbury). The company is regarded by the industry as an innovator and a trusted trading partner that actively seeks to develop new business opportunities with clients through investment, innovation and cooperation.

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IOSH Approved Principles and Practice of Emergency Response with RTS

IOSH Approved Principles and Practice of Emergency Response is now available to be taken with your trusted health and safety provider, Reynolds Training Services.

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