Meeting the Mandates
Department of Homeland Security’s recent regulations aim to make high-risk chemical sites terrorist-proof
- By Carol Enman
- Dec 04, 2007
The Department of Homeland
Security’s publication of chemical
facilities anti-terrorism (CFAT)
standards has many chemical and
petrochemical companies scrambling to develop
security plans for their high-risk facilities.
The continued post-9/11 threat of terrorism
dictates urgency, and the DHS put teeth in the
As a result, companies that have not
already begun CFAT’s four-phase compliancy
process outlined in the Federal Register (published
in April) face fines of $25,000 per day
and possible closure.
A few industry leaders are already implementing
compliant security measures, according to
Michael Turner, manager of Securitas Systems’
Chemical Solutions Group.
“One of our clients—a major U.S. petrochemical
company—began working with us last
year, and we had their comprehensive electronic
security site plan designed by the time the
preliminary CFAT law came out,” Turner said.
He also said site security has typically been
lax in the chemical industry, so companies are
being compelled to play a rapid game of catch-up.
“Terrorism has always been there, but it was never a significant regulatory focus until
after 9/11,” Turner said. “One of our most
important responsibilities to our customers
is designing custom solutions to
help them mitigate risk in today’s environment.
The biggest risk with chemical processing
is the threat of a terrorist act. And
safety is always a critical issue in this
industry. So, a lot of the equipment we
have installed can be used to record accidental
injury, as well as meet all the necessary
Fully integrated security electronic
systems are on a continuing growth trajectory
in the chemical industry.
“This petrochemical company turned to
us two years ago, searching for a security
services provider capable of designing,
engineering, installing and maintaining a
turnkey project,” Turner said.
The job description included overseeing
all contractors, performing all construction—
including the installation of a new
fiber-optic backbone—and supplying and
installing a site perimeter fence and intrusion
detection system to be integrated with
the building and gate access control and surveillance
systems throughout the facility.
“Before contacting us, our client was having
trouble locating a security systems
integrator who could handle a project that
size,” Turner said. “But large-scale, complex
projects involving varied operating
environments are one of our specialties.
It’s essential, for example, to secure all
access to contractors and employees alike
and, at the same time, keep the logistics
Phase 1 of the project at the client’s
company headquarters—including both
plant and administrative buildings—began
in December 2006. Access control went
live in August, and the company is currently
working on Phase 2, the video surveillance
“Federal agencies that visited the site
and reviewed the plan were very
impressed,” Turner said. “A major component
of the first phase, the mustering
option built into the access control design,
is especially important. In an emergency,
it provides quick electronic accounting for
personnel as they check into designated
areas of the plant.
“Also, the wireless handheld readers
deployed in Phase 1 allow visual vehicle
inspections at the gates while simultaneously
badging each person going into the
facility in the vehicle, not just the driver.
So the security personnel know every person
who is in the facility at all times.”
The Perfect Fit
Securitas Systems takes a long-term
view and a highly customized approach
to a project of this nature.
“We’re involved throughout—from
concept, design, implementation, commissioning
and service,” Turner said.
“We anticipate relationships that last
decades with clients and have planned
their systems design accordingly. We’ll
be putting maintenance, service and program
management in place for them
next. Program management enables better
coordination within internal departments,
as they will have one dedicated
Securitas Systems contact for all system
needs, whether adding new technology
or IT or maintenance concerns. The dedicated
service provider works with them
and helps them plan new system phases
as they grow and as their needs change.”
Because the client is committed to
growing organically, Securitas Systems
built a flexible system from the start to
accommodate anticipated expansion.
The access control system’s open
architecture and scalability allow for
integration with future security systems
and related products, such as human
resource management or time and attendance
“We’ll be the point of contact for all
security-related issues,” Turner said.
“We act as consultant, as well as service
provider—listening to their concerns and
business needs as they evolve and develop.
Our ability to listen and design a
turnkey solution tailored to their business
processes and our unique program
management system were what earned
us this partnership. We manage all the
security aspects, from the operational to
the tactical to the strategic.”