Chemical plants are prepared for the inclement weather

By by Dianna Wray
Feb. 2, 2011 at 5:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2011 at 8:02 p.m.

As the winter weather whistles in, area chemical plants are getting ready to face it.

Dow Chemical is monitoring weather conditions and the plant will run at regular capacity, public affairs manager Trish Ritthaler said.

However, employees have been instructed to contact their leaders Thursday morning. Any employees deemed nonessential to the plant will not be called in, Ritthaler said, noting that the company has plans in place for freezing conditions.

"Our main concern is the safety of our employees, the environment and the local community," Ritthaler said.

Alcoa communications director Laurel Cahill said the plant is preparing for the weather by making time for pre-job briefings for employees to make sure employees will have everything they need to perform their jobs safely.

Special emphasis will be placed on safety to make sure employees are aware of the danger of slips and falls related to ice on stairways and other surfaces.

She said the plant has a detailed freeze protection plan in place to prevent damage to the plant and minimize risk to operations due to freezing.

"As always our first concern is the safety of everyone who works at Alcoa Point Comfort Operations," Cahill said.

Formosa Plastics has a contingency plan to keep the plant operating no matter what they are faced with, communications manager Bill Harvey said.

Plant employees are being given regular updates via e-mail and an employee information hotline about when and if they'll be scheduled due to the weather, Harvey said.

However, they won't know anything until they have a better idea of what the weather is going to do, Harvey said

"The safety of our employees is paramount to us and we make every decision based on the welfare of our employees and the safety of our neighbors and surrounding communities," Harvey said.

Invista regional public affairs manager Amy Hodges said Invista is prepared for the icy weather.

Hodges said they have activated plans to ensure the site maintains safety. Those plans include sanding walkways to installing windbreaks and other freeze precaution measure. They are also maintaining contact with employees to keep them informed throughout the situation, Hodges said.

"Invista takes weather events such as this very seriously. We are closely monitoring this situation as it continues to evolve and take the necessary precautions to ensure the site maintains operations safely at this time," Hodges said.



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