Securing Chemical Facilities

Keith Bennett and Kirk Jones help protect critical infrastructure at Eastman Chemical Co.

The $720 billion American chemical industry is vital to the U.S. economy. Collectively, the industry employs more than 750,000 people and produces nearly one-fifth of the world’s chemicals, accounting for more than 10 percent of total U.S. merchandize exports.

Due to the potential threats to national security and the economic impact of an incident, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has identified the chemical industry as one of 17 critical infrastructure sectors vital to the security, economy, public health and safety of the United States. As a result, chemical facilities are required to proactively address vulnerabilities and security challenges — from protecting perimeters and employees to meeting prescribed regulations and safety mandates.


Chemical Facilities after 9/11

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) require chemical production or usage facilities across the nation to develop plans to adequately secure their assets from the threat of terrorists. To sufficiently enforce its regulation, the federal government collected data on the type and amount of Chemicals of Interest (COIs) present at more than 3,700 facilities. Each facility was then assigned a tier level of 1-4 — with 1 representing the highest degree of concern. At the same time, the government also introduced Risk Based Performance Standards (RBPSs) based on the COIs at each facility. The 18 published RBPSs use proven data and research to outline law enforcement collaboration, theft, chemical transport, and incident response and reporting.

While there has been some concern regarding the implementation of the federal regulations by the chemical industry, many companies have realized the liability or exposure vulnerabilities identified in the required Site Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs) and have taken steps to adequately secure their facilities. The facilities develop and submit Site Security Plans (SSP) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for review and comment. The SSPs incorporate the SVA and a detailed implementation plan for corrective action to be taken to address the vulnerabilities previously identified.

DHS regularly visits chemical facilities to ensure they are implementing robust security programs to protect the critical infrastructure of the facility, its employees and the general public. To protect the interest of national security, the agency has the authority to cite a company for CFATS non-compliance. As a result of such regulations, the industry faces unique challenges in altering long-standing business practices and investing in security technologies to meet the new requirements.


Securing a Critical Facility: A Look at Eastman Chemical Company

The Eastman Chemical Company is a Fortune 500 manufacturer of chemicals, fibers and plastics. Headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., Eastman has approximately 10,000 employees in manufacturing locations and sales offices around the globe, and generated sales of $5.8 billion in 2010. Eastman’s products are key ingredients in automotive paints, cosmetics, printing inks, beverages, pharmaceuticals and other consumer products around the world.

Eastman previously depended on a legacy closed-circuit TV (CCTV) surveillance solution to capture video stored on digital video recorders (DVRs). Physical handling of video disks and DVR maintenance proved cumbersome and time-consuming. When the company needed to install additional cameras, it often required additional DVRs. In addition, the CCTV system did not support megapixel cameras that might help address CFATS compliance requirements.

To comply with CFATS standards and strengthen its own focus on safety and security, Eastman required a powerful, reliable and highly scalable physical security solution at its primary manufacturing site and corporate headquarters in Kingsport, Tenn., and manufacturing facilities in Jefferson, Pa., and Longview, Texas.

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