The American Chemistry Council plans to add a security clause to its responsible-care guidelines by June, but several ACC members with ties to the plastics industry said their firms already have taken such measures in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Arlington, Va.-based ACC said it is making such measures mandatory to ``assure the public that all member facilities are involved in making their neighbors and America more secure.''
Members will be required to assess and correct vulnerabilities at their facilities, and verify that security measures have been implemented via independent third parties.
Although no specific threats have been made against U.S. plastics or chemicals sites, ACC has received information from government security agencies expressing concern about the vulnerability of such facilities, as well as power plants and other infrastructure locations, according to ACC spokesman Chris VandenHeuvel.
Officials with resin makers Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., ExxonMobil Corp. of Houston and Atofina Petrochemicals Inc. of Houston said much of their enhanced security work already has been done.
Dow has hired more security personnel at many of its plants and installed more checkpoints, said Dow spokeswoman Leslie Hatfield. The firm also is conducting more perimeter patrols, requiring employees to wear identification, and checking visitor credentials carefully.
``We're basically trying to do background checks on all non-Dow personnel,'' Hatfield said.
ExxonMobil began increasing security levels at its plastics and chemicals plants shortly after Sept. 11. The move has included its material transport operations and even extended to enhanced mail-handling procedures after the national anthrax scare, ExxonMobil spokesman Russ Roberts said.
At Atofina's four Gulf Coast petrochemical sites, there is an increased uniformed-security presence, as well as more frequent fence-line checks and general inspections, according to Rick Charter, chief administrative officer.
Vehicle undercarriages are being inspected, and all visitors must have an escort, Charter added.
``If we don't know who you are, don't show up,'' he said.