Do You Have a Contingency Plan for HAZMAT Disasters?

There is no such thing as being immune from a possible disaster if you work with chemicals or hazardous waste. No matter how large or small your company or your chemical footprint, you must consider what could happen in a hazardous waste spill — and mitigate your risk.

When to Develop a Contingency Plan

The time to talk about whether something counts as a disaster is not when it’s happening. It is critical to develop your contingency plan before you need  it.

Indeed, when you recognize that a crisis is occurring, you should immediately move into a developed, practiced contingency plan. If you don’t have a plan yet; now is the time to make one. Once you’ve developed a plan, practice it until you are confident that everyone knows their role in the plan and what triggers its implementation.

Developing a Contingency Plan

While a disaster does not care about your reporting structure, your contingency plan must reflect the nature of your company. During an emergency, who needs to be notified and what do they need to do?

For benchmarks, map out what must take place in the hours after an incident, as well as in the days and weeks to come. Use the benchmarks and the chain of command to develop and document a plan. Write the plan in simple language, so no one will be confused over the meaning of a phrase. Train personnel in the plan, and make sure to include training for new hires.

After you develop your plan, mark time each year to renew, rethink, and retrain staff. By keeping this in top of mind awareness for your employees, you can ensure everyone will spring into action during a disaster, reducing risk and damage on site.