Taking and Sharing Responsibility

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Fourteen years have lapsed since the American Chemistry Council (ACC) adopted the Responsible Care initiative.

Today, the initiative is not only going strong ," it is also the driving force for many of the innovative business decisions made by today's cutting-edge chemical companies. Because member companies are required to establish their own performance objectives and communicate their progress, they must pursue innovative ways to ensure the health and safety of their employees and to improve environmental performance every day.

This month's cover story (page 24) features a sampling of success stories for each of the six existing Codes of Management Practices ," the heart of the Responsible Care initiative.

ACC is adding a seventh code, however, which has been the subject of a good deal of public and industrywide attention. (See the related news story on page 15.) In January, ACC announced it would develop by June a new Security Code that will consist of "management practices to further safeguard sites from potential terrorist attacks, and build closer relationships with law enforcement, which will help ensure the protection of chemical facilities."

This Security Code ," clearly a byproduct of the precarious times we live in ," could mark a new phase of "collaborative responsibility" for the chemical industries.

Averting terrorist attacks and dealing with other safety threats involve more than basic safety measures or the efforts of only plant personnel. Employees at plants that have established effective relationships with their local area residents and local law enforcement and emergency response personnel might sleep better knowing they have the necessary resources in place if they are ever threatened.

Since last October, chemical facilities have been encouraged to use the information in the Site Security Guidelines for the U.S. Chemical Industry ," developed by ACC, the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Chlorine Institute ," to help them analyze and improve their security systems. But these guidelines might not be enough in the long run.

Security, in general, is a sensitive and often proprietary topic. However, sharing information about company-specific systems and processes can prove beneficial in some instances. Because security is a universal concern, chemical manufacturers could benefit from working together and participating in an open knowledge network.

During a petrochemical plant tour just last month, plant employees communicated to the CP staff how important security is to their daily functions.

Personnel at the plant ," a Responsible Care member ," did not seem daunted by the prospect of the new Security Code. In fact, they understood that this code carries with it a sense of urgency and necessity. They are prepared to take the necessary steps to secure the safety of their facility and community. Are you?

Nevenka Jevtic

Associate Editor

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