As part of their quest to reduce the number of reported industrial incidents, plant operators and official bodies are focussing extensively on regulations and compliance to do everything they can to eliminate the risk of potentially serious incidents occurring. However, if an incident does occur it is crucial for all staff to have the skills and knowledge required to understand and handle the outcome of an accident. Training is key here and this is where the challenge lies: How can organisations replicate real-world situations, without actually releasing hazardous agents into the environment?
The term ‘major incident’ is a broad one and is widely ascribed to any event where there is a loss of life, a serious injury or substantial damage to property or the environment.
Although these incidents are rare, when a major event does occur, multiple agencies are generally thrown together in a highly pressured, chaotic environment, and expected to work together and co-ordinate an effective emergency response. Problems can occur if Joint Emergency Planning Teams from local authorities, Emergency Services and personnel from the affected company all train their teams independently, working to different priorities and specialising in different areas of emergency response.