Refinery and Chemical Workers Are Not Ready for an Attack, Says Survey
HOUSTON, Texas Workers at U.S. refineries, chemical plants, and paper mills that might be attractive terrorist targets are not adequately trained to prevent or respond to attacks, according a survey released this week.
The survey of local union leaders by the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) found only 38 percent of respondents at 125 U.S. plants believed the company had effectively prepared to respond to a terrorist attack.
The results show chemical plants, refineries and paper mills have not adequately improved security at their facilities in the three years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Dave Ortlieb, PACE director of health and safety.
"We feel the primary emphasis has been on the three Gs: guards, gates, and guns," Ortlieb said.
A spokesman for the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), which represents chemical manufacturers and oil refiners, said the industry association had yet to see the survey and could not discuss its findings.
"We do know NPRA members have made significant improvements in security since Sept. 11," said Maurice McBride, NPRA director for security. "We look forward to making additional improvements in the future."
The PACE survey was sent to the president and recording secretary of local unions at 189 U.S. plants that process or store hazardous chemicals regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. PACE represents 50,000 workers at the 189 plants.
Leaders at 133 plants responded to the survey. Among the plants represented, 125 possessed enough chemicals to cause a catastrophic event.
Of the 125 plants, 32 percent are chemical plants, 24 percent are paper mills, and 26 percent are oil refineries. The remaining 18 percent are involved in other industries.