Emergency communication was a key issue discussed at the 8 March 2001 meeting of the CICCC. Since the Coode Island fires and explosion in 1991, one particular aspect of emergency management information has been a source of concern to residents in the Footscray area. When residents hear a siren or a loud noise, and they suspect something may be amiss, they don’t know if there is an emergency, and there may or may not be one. The CICCC, with the active assistance of Terminals and radio 3WRB – 974 FM, is working to address this information gap.
Terminals Pty Ltd has made an arrangement with radio station Stereo 974 FM (3WRB) that if an event occurs at the Coode Island Terminals site, whether it is minor or major, the site manager will inform Stereo 974 at once. Stereo 974 will then broadcast details of the event. Other facilities in the Footscray area are being encouraged to join in the initiative. The CICCC is developing fridge magnets to advise people to tune in to Stereo 974 FM for information about sirens and other facility incidents.
Geoff Millard, Terminals’ National Safety and Environmental Manager, told the CICCC about work being done on the Safety Case. The Safety Case is the central requirement of the new Major Hazard Facility Regulations, and covers all aspects of safety management on registered Major Hazard Facility sites. Matthew Wylie of WorkCover advised the CICCC that Terminals’ facility was in the top 10 major hazard facilities in the State.
Geoff Millard explained that the Terminals’ Safety Case would start with a pilot study looking at acrylonitrile and propylene oxide, the two most hazardous chemicals stored at Coode Island. The Safety Case includes detailed consideration and documentation of hazards, of risks associated with those hazards, of measures to control the risks, safety management systems, and emergency procedures.
“The Safety Case process is a big learning curve for regulators and operators” said Geoff. “Because it’s rigorous and comprehensive, it’s a huge workload, but it’s an opportunity for a fresh look at the facility, and has the potential to bring huge benefits for our industry in general.”
The CICCC has requested Terminals to advise the next meeting about their proposals for public consultation on the Safety Case pilot. This has been a major concern for the Committee given the general lack of public input into WorkCover processes.
The next CICCC meeting will be held on Thursday 5 April 2001. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. Items on the agenda include advice on emergency communication by Mr Leo van der Tooren, Office of the Commissioner for Emergency Services, and presentation of a Groundwater and Site Soil Survey by EPA and Terminals.
Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 12 March 2001