Continuous Operation & Preparedness for Emergency Situations
Why is it material?
Immediate response to emergencies, continuity of business operation and / or immediate return to normal operation effectively, limits potential consequences of incidents to employees, local community, environment, company’s reputation and finances. Preparedness for uninterrupted operation is linked to the company’s sustainability.
The Group has developed a Corporate Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plan with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that is interconnected to each facility’s emergency plan. Plans include response strategies to handle possible scenarios of internal and external emergency situations.
There are also procedures for:
- Internal and external communications, including periodic tests for emergency calls.
- Access to staff resources and equipment.
- Access to basic information (e.g. MSDS, plans, etc.).
- Communication with other companies and emergency response bodies including compatibility and plan integration, when and if required.
- Managing third party aid.
Along with the emergency procedures, Crisis Management and Operational Continuity Plans are linked to the Group’s respective emergency plans and Group’s guidelines to recover operation.
Procedures and Plans are reviewed annually to test key emergency response and resource, infrastructure and equipment readiness and effectiveness.
Comments/suggestions outcomes from drills reviews and incident analysis are recorded, monitored and resolved and the plans are revised accordingly.
Our goal is the continuous operation of our installations and when this is not possible, the main objective is to respond immediately to emergencies by limiting and effectively managing potential impacts, as well as assuring resources for the implementation of our recovery plan.
Each facility, but the Group in general, has developed contingency plans for immediate implementation, that are continuously updated according to national legislation, international codes, and the results of training drills performed periodically or in emergencies.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Managing emergencies (e.g. Major Accidents Hazards or/and Environmental Incidents of significant impacts), is the Group’s highest priority and this is reflected in its performance, since the goal for zero Major Accidents and Environmental Incidents of significant impact was achieved once again in 2017.
- ZERO major accidents or environmental incidents with great impact
- Technology support for the improvement/development of critical systems and emergency plans
- Annual drills for emergency situations (Seveso type or marine pollution response exercises) at each facility in cooperation with local authorities
We manage all incidents as likely to lead to Major Industrial Accidents and Environmental Incidents of significant impact, which could damage the reputation or the company’s finances. Emergencies’ plans (such as fires/marine pollution, response/malicious acts etc.) are examined and reviewed annually with the aim of continuous improvement. These plans are closely linked to the Operational Safety Management System, which constitutes the operating and management framework for system and process integrity.
There are mutual aid – cooperation protocols with neighboring companies as well as other refineries to manage emergencies more effectively.
Fire safety infrastructure improvement
In 2017, the Group concluded the upgrade of its firefighting equipment and training program, whose aim was to improve the refineries operational readiness and respond to emergencies. In the context of this program, a significant number of upgrade projects of the facilities’ firefighting system / equipment were completed, such as:
- Firefighting upgrade of the refineries’ piers
- Firefighting upgrade of each facilities’ production units
- Upgrading of the already installed firefighting systems of the storage tanks
- Installation of fire detection systems for floating roof tanks
- Supply of arm bracketed firefighting/rescue vehicle at the industrial installations. So, all the Group’s refineries can now autonomously respond to incidents at high facility locations.
- Supply of small completely autonomous firefighting vehicles capable of immediate action / coverage of small-scale incidents for rapid response in all facilities.
- Supply of new types of firefighting media of high extinguishing capacity, higher than commonly used media.
- Supply of tank trucks transferring foam-forming material to immediately refill firefighting vehicles either in the event of large-scale or/and long duration incident.
In the past years, the Group has spent more than €4.5 m. on projects to upgrade the existing firefighting infrastructure in all three industrial sites, while planned projects for the near future reach
Furthermore, in the context of reinforcing the existing collaboration with other responsible state authorities, but also of exchanging experiences and technical expertise, special training is carried out in annual basis on site, in terms of field and facility exercises and drills, but also with external entities (Falck Risk Management), in which active members from each local fire brigade, Special Disaster Units, as well as the Firefighting Academy, participate.
- Continuous upgrade of firefighting equipment and infrastructures/facilities to support activities required to deal with emergencies. These include systems that warn, update, communicate, restrict, protect personnel, security, etc., depending on the type of emergency and their compatibility with the corresponding external entities/ Authorities’ resources.
- Periodic independent assessment (e.g. inspection by an external consultant) regarding fire protection, risks mitigation means and implementation of the recommendations/proposals.
- Improvement of the strategies and response time to emergencies, if deemed necessary as a result of the exercises.