Depending on the industry under discussion, there are varying levels of incidents that can occur which make having an effective incident management plan a necessity. The petroleum industry most certainly falls into the category of operations where establishing and consistently maintaining an effective incident management response is of paramount importance. Understanding that there is no way to completely prevent incidents -- only to successfully and completely prepare for them when they do occur -- is often the difference between a brief interruption in operations and a long-lasting, expensive situation that negatively impacts a firm's reputation. Read on as we outline four basic steps in any solid effective incident management plan.
Develop a communication plan
This pertains to internal and external communication. Internally, the specifics of the plan are dependent on different factors unique to your organization (size, location, company culture), but whatever form the communication plan takes, it should be well-defined and able to be acted upon immediately. All internal employees should refer questions to your company spokesperson, with no exceptions.
Externally, an honest assessment with a realistic timeline is the best course of action. Ensuring stakeholders and the public in general that you are taking every step necessary to deal with the incident in the timeliest manner possible is vital at this point.
Understand how to classify (and respond to) the incident
At this juncture, the severity of the incident is quantified. Will it affect operations in just one location, or at multiple company locations? Obviously this step will no doubt be drastically different depending upon the circumstances, but the key here is to understand what threats can result from the incident, and gauge the response accordingly.
Formulate a basic framework for costs
There's no question that any incident needs a successful resolution. However, a cost analysis is necessary to ensure that the response and recovery to the incident are not out of proportion to the severity of the situation. As with any business decision, a budget helps immensely for this step.
Ensure your team is complete
Probably the most important step in any effective incident management plan, having the right people in the right places is of utmost importance. The key here is to have a clearly defined plan of action, where all the members of the incident management team understand their role -- without any ambiguity -- and are ready to jump into action immediately.
Developing an effective incident management response is certainly an important consideration, especially for companies operating in the petroleum industry. As is the case with any successful concept, ample planning will ensure that your organization is ready to respond -- and act quickly -- should an unexpected incident occur.
If you have any questions about developing or maintaining your incident management plan, please don't hesitate to reach out to us -- there's a reason why our compliance management solutions are so highly touted!