At Ashland, process safety management calls for managing the integrity of operating systems by applying good design principles and engineering, as well as sound operating and maintenance practices. Effective process safety management prevents the uncontrolled release of hazardous substances with the aim of avoiding significant incidents with the potential for serious injuries, environmental impact and property damage.
Our approach to process safety management focuses on reducing risks and incidents through our management systems. This includes classifying risks and scenarios and employing a risk matrix to help us focus overall risk-reduction efforts. We then identify mitigation measures and design and implement multiple safety barriers to reduce and/or eliminate the risks.
Our process safety systems meet, and in many cases exceed, industry norms. We subscribe to industry standards, in addition to our own internal standards, that provide an extra level of protection.
In addition to our risk-management processes, we conduct periodic process-hazard assessments to ensure our equipment and processes are operated and maintained to prevent unplanned or uncontrolled release of materials from a process. Our facilities are also regularly audited to ensure they are in compliance with applicable process safety regulations and standards. The results of these audits are reported to senior management. Where a deficiency is identified, action plans are developed and followed to closure.
As part of our process safety management program, we investigate all incidents and near-misses, determine their root causes and share them across our operations. Ashland also learns from investigations of major industry incidents and incorporates the lessons learned into our operations and technical standards.
We also collaborate with the Center of Chemical Process Safety, the American Chemical Council and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates to share lessons learned from our process safety events.
At Ashland, effective emergency preparedness highly depends on good planning and training with emergency personnel both within and our operations and the communities where we work. To develop and implement emergency response strategies, we bring together representatives from health and safety, environmental, security, human resources, operations management and other technical advisors to formulate response plans. We also work with local emergency planning committees and response teams to share our plans and pool our resources.
We routinely test our plans with our trained emergency response teams on a range of possible scenarios, including simulated spills, fires, explosions, natural disasters, security incidents and medical emergencies. Every Ashland site conducts drills in accordance with Ashland and regulatory requirements.
Additionally, Ashland operating facilities permit local emergency response teams to observe and walk through our facilities so they may become familiar with our sites and internal response capabilities.