A workshop targeted at training officials on dealing with oil spills on beaches and the clean-up process has been deemed a success!
The workshop was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and Exxon Mobil via Esso Standard Oil S.A. Limited, and held from September 10 to 11 at the Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.
It was conceptualised under the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, which is designed to ensure that all stakeholders with a role in oil spill response and post spill clean-up and rehabilitation were provided with the knowledge and skills to carry out their roles safely and efficiently.
According to a statement from the EPD, those stakeholders included the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited, the Sanitation Service Authority, the National Conservation Commission, the Ministry of Public Works, the Coastal Zone Management Unit and the EPD.
"Oil spills are hazards in themselves through direct exposure and they pose additional danger through their ability to cause explosions, fires and other dangerous consequences. This is also the case when derivatives such as gasoline or diesel are involved. However, in the event of a spill there will most certainly need to be a response and clean-up effort," the statement said.
It stressed that ongoing training through exercises and workshops was an important part of contingency planning.
Topics covered during the workshop included Hazard Identification; the Incident Command System; the use of the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook; Chemical and Physical Properties of Hazardous Substances; Hazard Control – Personal Protective Equipment and Basic Oil Spill Response.
In addition, participants also saw firsthand some of the protective equipment used for various spill responses and learnt about what was required before, during and after the use of the equipment.
Deputy Director of the EPD, Anthony Headley, delivered introductory remarks during the workshop, while Country Manager of Esso Barbados, Cally Boyea introduced the presenters.
The presenters included President and Chief Executive Officer of Clean Channel Association, Commander Stephen Glenn, and Tommy Hamblin, who is an expert in emergency response, planning and training.