Hurricane season is here, and will be with us for a few months to come. That means processing facilities and distribution warehouses should pay extra attention to tropical forecasts, especially if their operations are located near the coast. On this blog, we’ve previously discussed best practices for preparing for a hurricane, including in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
If your facility relies on ammonia refrigeration, however, preparing for a major storm is that much more important due to the potential for an ammonia release caused by weather damage. The most important thing is to establish a sound process safety management (PSM) program with standard operating procedures on how your facility prepares for a storm. You might be surprised at the number of plants that don’t have this outlined, especially smaller ones. Even if your system is under the 10,000-pound ammonia threshold, you should have a plan in place under the OSHA and EPA General Duty Clause. Ignoring these safety issues can be a lot more costly to address after the fact. It’s a good practice to prepare, prevent and execute a plan for emergencies.
Now that COVID-19 is a risk encountered in everyday life, food plant owners and operators are looking for ways to protect their staff and facilities that are cost-effective and don’t hinder productivity.
As scientific authorities continue to nail down exactly how COVID-19 is spread, the overwhelming evidence suggests the virus primarily travels and is transmitted through droplets in the air. That’s why shielding your facility from an outbreak starts with its HVAC and refrigeration systems.
Ensuring security and safety at your food or beverage plant has never been more important. Facility owners are increasingly considering how to best protect their product, investments and, most importantly, their employees. Following 9/11, the government even increased security regulations for these processing plants that are so integral to the nation’s food supply.
Of course, no amount of planning can absolutely guarantee safety or prevent an incident, but these design measures are effective at discouraging threats and improving security.
At Stellar, we’ve built numerous food plants, and we’re constantly exploring and designing new security measures into our projects. Here are seven ways to increase safety at your facility:
Combating weather delays in a construction project is always a shifting challenge, but how do you cope with record-breaking rainfall, subzero temperatures, delayed equipment and an aggressive project schedule? Read on for lessons learned from a recent project we completed in the state with the second-coldest winter in the continental U.S.
The state of Florida, the Caribbean and portions of the Southeastern U.S. are reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irma this week. The deadly storm brought damaging winds and torrential rain to the entire Sunshine State, including our headquarters in Jacksonville.
Ask any food manufacturer or processor if they are committed to high safety and quality standards and their answer will, of course, be yes. But even with the strictest standards, thousands of recalls are still issued each year in the U.S. In 2015,the FDA recalled 9,178 products, a 12-percent increase over the previous two years. If you weighed the amount of goods the USDA recalled last year alone, it would be as heavy as 52 Boeing 747 airliners. That’s a lot of product gone to waste.
Your food processing facility’s commitment to safety starts with being prepared. How do you prepared to be… prepared? With your food plant’s emergency action plan (EAP): a required Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) document that defines employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. While emergency action plans that meet minimum requirements may include emergency information and procedures, they still may not contain enough detail to ensure the safest response to dangerous situations. Your plan must be comprehensive, eliminating all confusion and hesitancy in case of an emergency. A non-comprehensive plan — one lacking extensive instruction or failing to address each emergency — may add confusion to the situation.
In November 2015, the United States Resiliency Council (USRC) launched the USRC Earthquake Building Rating System, a first-of-its-kind performance rating system for seismic hazards. This system is the first reliable, consistent method to determine how susceptible buildings may be to earthquakes, providing facility owners, insurance providers, and engineers with a better understanding of how to prevent losses. The rating system assesses buildings on three important criteria, each of which is detailed later in this article.
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