Safety and Environment

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Petrojam installations consist of a refinery, tanker loading terminal and marine terminal at Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston and a tanker loading terminal at Montego Bay Freeport. They were designed, constructed and operated to meet the petroleum industry best practices prevailing at the time.

Since our inception in 1982, we have taken steps have been taken to ensure that the facilities have been upgraded to meet current international standards.

A number of standards are currently used to guide the refinery’s construction, modification, maintenance and operating practices, some of these are:
  • American Petroleum Institute (API)
  • American Society of Mechanical  Engineers (ASME)
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
  • National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) It is through the application of these standards and their monitoring practices that risk to our human, physical and environmental assets are minimized.  
Petrojam is committed to the protection of its employees, facilities, members of the public and their property, and the environment through the application of the above mentioned standards. Petrojam Limited is committed to seeking, considering, and responding to the concerns of employees in Health, Safety, and Environmental matters.

Petrojam has a Safety & Environment Management System which is based on the requirements of OSHA’s Process Safety Management System, and the environmental protection requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Jamaica’s National Environment and Planning Agency. This integrated management system has policies and procedures which controls the following:

  1. Employee participation in facilities management and operations
  2. Hazard Analysis
  3. Operations and Maintenance Procedures
  4. Administration of Contractors
  5. Management of Change
  6. Plant Maintenance/Mechanical Integrity
  7. Staff Training and Certification
  8. Emergency Planning and Response
  9. Safe Working Practices/ Work Permitting
  10. Incident Investigation and Reporting
  11. Process Safety Information
  12. Industrial Hygiene Management
  13. Environmental Management System
  14. Security Management System

In order to keep the facility safe all members of staff must receive training to attain competence in the aspects of their jobs over and above their academic qualifications. Some highlights of this management system are listed below.

Employees at all levels are involved in the development of various aspects of the management system and are kept informed of intended changes with a view to facilitate their participation. They are involved in aspects such as procedures writing, hazard analysis, training, and emergency planning and response.
It is critical that all facilities have a cadre of skilled professionals to man the operations in a safe manner. Petrojam has set academic qualification for all jobs, and in addition all technicians/engineers involved in the maintenance, operation, laboratory and loading rack operations must be trained in house and certified prior to being assigned. In some cases the certification is conducted by external experts designated by equipment manufactures, or a petrochemical industry regulatory organization.
This involves the analysis of all system designs, plant changes, chemical use, and procedures to ensure that no adverse environmental impacts result from plant operations. These analyses range from simple “what if” analysis to computer aided analysis called HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) studies.
These are occupational safety practices which employee must utilize to prevent injury to themselves. The two principal components of occupational safety practices are generic standard operating procedures and use of personal protective equipment )PPE). Critical to the safe work permit system is the work permit requirement which states that inspections must be conducted, incident prevention steps taken, all affected staff must be briefed and written authorization must be received prior to the commencement of all jobs. This is one of the most important requirements to keep the operations occupationally safe.

Petrojam has developed emergency response plans and procedures which aim to control incidents that could result in personnel injury (both on and off site), and cause damage to facilities and the environment. The procedures determine how we respond to:

  • Fires and Explosions
  • Land and Marine Oil Spills
  • Hurricane and Floods
  • Civil Unrest
  • Earthquakes

All members of staff are required to serve as part of the emergency response teams. We therefore have a cadre of trained staff and the latest equipment to respond to all emergencies.
This equipment includes:

  • Fire-fighting
    • Two fire-fighting trucks
    • In house fire water system
    • Fire-fighting foam
    • Portable/hand held fire-fighting equipment
    • Fire entry suit and self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Oil Spill
    • Sorbent pads
    • Containment booms
    • Motor driven skimmers
A major component of our response strategies is a cooperative arrangement with the government response agencies: 1) the Jamaica Fire Brigade; 2) ODPEM; 3) NEPA; and 4) NWC. We contribute equipment and skilled personnel during emergencies.
Petrojam is a member of the Clean Caribbean and Americas Cooperative. This is an international oil spill cooperative which ensures access to technical and physical resources for handling medium to large-scale oil spills in the Caribbean Sea and in waterways.

The training program for staff includes specialized courses at the Jamaica Maritime Institute and the Texas A&M University Emergency Institute for fire-fighting; and The Clean Caribbean & Americas for oil spills.

Initial orientation of staff includes one week of safety orientation and one week of fire-fighter training. Other safety training is conducted on an ongoing basis, both externally and in-house. This training sometimes includes the participation of the municipal response agencies.
All Petrojam personnel, particularly its Safety and Environment team, are fully trained to act in all emergencies.

In an effort to ensure that the operations conform to the intended standards regular audits and inspections are conducted. These inspections are conducted by plant operators, and maintenance and safety personnel to ensure that:

  1. The operating parameters are within the set limits
  2. The correct procedures are being followed
  3. Prescribed protective equipment and systems are being used as intended
  4. Hazards are identified and corrected

Periodic external audits are also conducted by Insurance Auditors, to ensure conformance to international standards.

Several design features at the refinery and terminals mitigate against oil spills. These include:

  • Containment dykes which are constructed around tank farms and have the capacity to contain all the contents of the storage tanks;
  • An impermeable heavy duty polyethylene, geosynthetic lining which is installed vertically, to below the water interface level to prevent migration of oil from within the tank farm boundary;
  • Tank bottoms are constructed of concrete with protective liners. Tanks are periodically taken out of service for inspection to detect early signs of metal corrosion.
  • Underground wells are maintained around the tank farm to monitor ground water quality and to facilitate oil recovery;
  • Underground pipelines are wrapped in corrosion resistant tape and are pressure tested and monitored continuously.
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