Environmentalists and Politicians Struggle to Improve Chemical Plant Safety Measures

Reduce Public Health Risk With Chemical Plant Training

A group of environmental and public health organizations are calling for stricter safety legislation for chemical plants. We can start by offering chemical plant training.

A decade after 9/11, environmental and public health officials are once more bringing attention to the potential terrorist threat posed by chemical plants nationwide.

Mid-May, a score of environmental, public health, and labor organizations wrote a letter to President Obama calling for revised safety rules for chemical plants. But these guys are familiar with the Congressional game—new legislation is even less likely to get passed now than when former-Senator Obama initially introduced it in 2006.

The coalition of environmental agencies informed the current administration that the Environmental Protection Agency could implement new safety protocol of its own according to the Clean Air Act. Part of the issue is that the existing chemical safety law doesn’t encourage or incentivize the chemical industry to use safer chemicals and overall processes.

However, the National Association of Chemical Distributors disagrees. President Chris Jahn responded that the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards have already addressed many of these concerns. According to Jahn, some 3,000 sites have lowered risk by volunteering to change chemical ingredients and processes. Jahn argues that we should continue to enforce the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards instead of adding more regulations.

But there’s another solution that would likely help alleviate safety concerns for chemical plants. As the number of skilled manufacturing and chemical operators wanes, the industry turns to chemical plant training. But, training your workforce doesn’t have to be an overwhelming burden for plant owners. Courses in chemical plant operator training are offered at affordable prices online, and you can construct a curriculum based on improving safety regulations.

By transferring knowledge from quality employees on the cusp of retiring to new workers, individual skill sets can be tailored to specific chemical processes, plants, or changes. That level of personalized chemical operations training enhances safety and reduces public risk.

Not to mention, how else can the industry target and harness the raw—albeit untrained—talent of the unemployed? American youth has been especially crippled by unemployment rates, which is the same group that needs to rekindle an interest in chemical plants, manufacturing, welding, and other vocational trades.

In fact, MSNBC says the manufacturing industry will need 140,000 welders by 2019. So, the American Welding Society added a welding merit badge for Boy Scouts to start training young boys. Although there will likely never be a badge for chemical plant operations, the idea of training youth for tradesmen positions is still sound. Young adults equipped with chemical plant operator training have more to offer their industry, and they become an economic asset.

If you truly want to protect the public from chemical accidents or terrorist threats, properly trained chemical operators will both uphold the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards and instigate further progressive measures.

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