Realistic safety training a must at Arkema in BP
Safety is of major importance to the 45 workers employed at Arkema, Inc., a chemical plant located near the center of Blooming Prairie.
That safety is reinforced every day by an emphasis on company safety.
Safety goes much further when management schedules a special training session involving emergency personnel of Blooming Prairie. That one step further took place Saturday morning, April 6, when plant employees teamed with the emergency personnel to train through some special scenarios designed by Health Environment and Safety officials.
Emergency personnel were represented by Arkema supervisors, by 19 members of the Blooming Prairie Fire Department, by six from the BP Ambulance Service and by four BP police officers.
"You can never be too safe in the work environment," said Plant Manager Michael Green.
Arkema's chemical plant produces over two dozen finished products. These products are manufactured by chemically bonding oxygen to unsaturated bonds found in natural vegetable oils, such as soybean, linseed or other olefinic oils.
"This training is especially beneficial for our workers and it also helps local emergency personnel know more about the inner workings of our plant so they can respond accordingly," said Loan Trinh, manager of HES.
Trinh planned the safety training exercise with advance planning involving Arkema employees and emergency personnel. She was on the loud speaker, announcing the next phase of the day's training.
The key parts of the training were divided into two scenarios.
The first scenario simulated response from the night shift crew of limited personnel (three individuals). The scenario simulated a situation requiring ambulance service response and fire department help to assist in bringing the victim down to ground level from Production Facility 2B on the fourth floor.
In the first scenario, an operator complained about not feeling good. Two of his fellow workers had not heard from him for a short time and began searching for him. They found the worker lying unconscious, no breathing and no pulse.
A worker then performed CPR on the victim. One of the workers called 911 and brought an AED to the site of the victim. The other worker went down to ground level to meet the responding ambulance and crew.
The ambulance arrived at the scene and continued AED and other treatment to the victim. After shocking with the AED, the victim had heart rhythm.
Fire department and ambulance crews then brought the victim down to ground level using a back board (actually, for safety reasons, a live body was not used and rather a satchel was used).
As an aside, the ambulance and fire department crews demonstrated how use of a stair chair (owned by the ambulance service) could be used to transport a victim down stairs.
The second scenario involved a fire and explosion on Production 3 first floor. Simulation had an overhead pipe exploding and releasing C10 Alpha Olefin oil. An operator suffered chemical splash and burns as simulated by a $50 mannequin, said Trinh.
Emergency personnel pulled the victim from the plant and treated metal shrapnel wounds, bleeding and cuts/wounds to the thigh and leg. Burns were also found on the victim's face and neck.
Fire was also extinguished by firefighters in the second scenario.
Following successful completion of the two scenarios, firefighters and Arkema employees practiced the operation of a water cannon. Two water cannons are found on site.
All safety participants participated in a critique following the training. "We're not emergency responders at Arkema and we need input from our emergency people," Trinh emphasized. "We made the training as realistic as possible," he continued.
"I thought the training went quite well," said Trinh.
Fire Chief Dean Naatz agreed and said many of the emergency responders had participated in previous Arkema safety drills.
"Training is helpful and you just hope you don't have to use it," remarked Assistant Chief Rick Hansen.
"The turnout was fantastic and we appreciate the commitment of the emergency personnel to give up part of their weekend for the training," said plant manager Green.