Workers suited up to perform the first drill involving simulated leaked caustic at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) in April.
“We will be using caustic for agent neutralization and decontamination efforts in several different areas of the plant,” said Dorian Karas, emergency preparedness manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “Its pH is high, so it presents a contact burn hazard. We are practicing donning protective gear, proper spill clean-up and decontamination of participants afterward.”
The team had conducted three table-top, or theoretical, drills before the first practical drill, Karas said. Drills reinforce worker training and procedures and prove the effectiveness of the response process before caustic is introduced to the facility.
“Drills are very important because they help personnel rehearse for anticipated emergency situations they may encounter and validate the adequacy of the emergency response plan,” said David Moragne, safety and occupational health manager, BGCAPP government field office. “Safety of our employees is our highest priority.”
The drill, which took approximately 30 minutes, involved a simulated liquid leak from a storage container of an inert substance representing caustic. A response team ensured the two responders properly donned their ensemble, then observed while they followed the procedure for the spill cleanup and decontamination, Moragne said.