The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued an interim final rule for beefed-up security measures at high risk chemical plants.
For the first time, reports Government Technology, DHS will require owners of plants housing given quantities of specified chemicals to submit preliminary screenings to determine risk levels. High risk chemical facilities will be required to submit a security vulnerability assessment and a security plan. The aim is to insure that chemical plant security is at anti-terrorism levels.
“Security standards will be required” Government Technology adds, “to achieve specific outcomes, such as securing the perimeter and critical targets, controlling access, deterring theft of potentially dangerous chemicals, and preventing internal sabotage.” Government consulting help will be available and there will be stiff penalties (up to $25,000 per day and DHS shut-down ability) for non-compliance.
As we noted in an earlier blog item, both the chemical industry and Homeland Security had already identified perimeter security as a prime focus for plant protection. In June, 2005, Robert Stephan, a top Homeland Security official for infrastructure protection, listed access and access control as first among five priorities for protecting chemical plants in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
We at PRO Barrier Engineering continue to urge Homeland Security and the chemical industry to plan access control by considering all available approaches, whether they originate inside or outside the industry itself.