Industrial Safety in Contra Costa County
The purpose of the Industrial Safety Ordinance is to prevent the accidental release of hazardous chemicals; improve accident prevention through participation from industry and the community; require industry to submit a Safety Plan; and conduct audits of the plans and inspections of the industrial plants.
Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Programs (CCHMP), a division of the County Health Department, administers the ordinance. A regular performance review and evaluation report is submitted to the Board of Supervisors. The 2017 Industrial Safety Ordinance Annual Report was presented by the March 7th Board of Supervisors meeting. It can be found on the County's website at www.cchealth.org/hazmat/.
There are six businesses covered by the County’s Industrial Safety Ordinance and two covered by the City of Richmond’s ordinance. The six industrial sites covered by the County’s ordinance are Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery, Shell Oil Martinez Refinery, Air Products at Shell, Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery east of Martinez, Air Products at Tesoro and Air Liquide-Rodeo Hydrogen Plant. The two industrial sites covered by the City of Richmond’s ordinance are Chevron Richmond Refinery and Chemtrade West Richmond Works.
Audits of the regulated businesses are required at least once every three years to ensure that the facilities have the required programs in place and are implementing the programs. Five County ISO and two Richmond ISO audits were completed this reporting period:
• Chemtrade Richmond Works—September 2014
• Air Products Shell—April 2015
• Air Products at Tesoro—April 2015
• Shell Oil Products Martinez—May 2015
• Air Liquide Large Industries—March 2016
• Chevron Richmond Refinery—July 2016
• Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery—October 2016
There are three other programs in place to reduce the potential of an accidental release from a regulated stationary source that could impact the surrounding community. The programs are: the Process Safety Management Program administered by Cal/OSHA, the Federal Accidental Release Prevention Program administered by the U.S. EPA, and the California Accidental Release Prevention Program administered locally by CCHMP. The Industrial Safety Ordinance is also administered by CCHMP. Each of the programs is very similar in requirements, with the Industrial Safety Ordinance being the most stringent.
The Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Industrial Safety Ordinance in June 2014, broadening the goals and requirements of the regulation following the 2012 Chevron Refinery fire investigation report.
The ISO requires the regulated stationary sources to do an incident investigation with a root cause analysis for each of the major chemical accidents or releases that meets the definition of a Level 3 or Level 2 incident in the Community Warning System incident level classification system, based on meeting one or more of the following criteria:
• Results in one or more fatalities
• Results in greater than 24 hours of hospital treatment of three or more persons
• Causes property damage (including cleanup and restoration activities) initially estimated at $500,000 or more.
• Results in a vapor cloud of flammables and/or combustibles that is more than 5,000 pounds
Over a 17-year period, there has been a trend towards fewer and less severe Major Chemical Accidents or Releases incidents in the County since the adoption of the Ordinance. There were several Community Warning System Level II and Level III incidents in 2012 that caused some concern. There was one Major Chemical Accident or Release for the County Industrial Safety Ordinance facilities in 2015 and one Major Chemical Accident or Release at a non-ISO facility in 2015. These incidents serve as a reminder of the need to stay vigilant in ensuring safe facility operations. There were no major incidents in Contra Costa County in 2016.
Staff continues to work with other agencies such as the EPA, Cal/OHSA, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and the Bay Area Quality Management District, along with other local program agencies, for sharing of incident results, regulatory interpretations, and inspection results to improve effectiveness and prevention.
Contra Costa County’s System for Helping the Homeless
Contra Costa County provides the "safety net" for those in need in our community. The Contra Costa Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) is currently designing and implementing a Coordinated Entry System (CES) to ensure that homeless individuals, and those at-risk of homelessness, receive the most appropriate services to meet their housing needs.
The Coordinated Entry System is a collaboration of multiple community, government, and faith-based agencies that collectively provide services ranging from prevention to permanent housing placements. Homeless individuals are linked to the support needed to obtain and sustain housing. They move into the system by calling 211, going to one of our Coordinated Assessment and Resource (CARE) Centers, or through our Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement (CORE) teams.
The 211 information line, operated by the Contra Costa Crisis Center, provides a phone portal for individuals and families needing to connect to homeless services. Callers will be connected to CORE Team and CARE Centers. 211 is in the process of implementing Prevention and Diversion Screening and Referral services, and in September will begin a centralized reservation system for direct placement into emergency shelters.
Our CORE outreach teams have begun to engage and stabilize homeless individuals living outside and are helping to facilitate and deliver health and basic needs services, and locate permanent housing. Evening CORE teams can provide direct placement into shelter beds.
CARE Centers located in Richmond, Concord, and Walnut Creek provide a walk-in option for individuals and families who need to connect to homeless services. Services offered at CARE centers include help with basic needs, light case management, housing navigation services, and substance abuse treatment and support.
The Concord CARE Center also serves as an after hours Warming Center to offer much needed support in a safe environment overnight. CORE teams and law enforcement will be able to make warming center placements.
CORE teams establish relationships with clients through regular communication and visits to camps and shelters, and serve as a point of contact for many social services. A 2016 count showed that about 1,100 county residents are without shelter on any given night.
Through CCHS, CORE teams connect clients to shelters, medical and mental health care, case managers, substance use disorder treatment and services, benefit counselors, housing, and other services.
Most Contra Costa cities rely on their police departments to manage homelessness, leading to a drain on public safety resources as officers repeatedly respond to complaints about public disturbances, theft and panhandling; often involving the same few people. Those booked for infractions such as public intoxication or urinating in public rarely remain in jail longer than a night. They are often released a few hours after booking at Martinez Detention Facility.
To help alleviate the impact on their police, Martinez and Pleasant Hill will soon share a full-time outreach team to connect with homeless residents as part of a new Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) plan to more efficiently deliver services to the county’s homeless community. The cities agreed to fund the cost of a two-member team of CCHS outreach workers who will operate 40 hours a week within their boundaries.
There is no one single solution to eradicating homelessness in our community. Through these programs the County has implemented in cooperation with our cities and many non-profit groups, I am hopeful that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals living on the street. For more information about Homeless Services in Contra Costa County and how you can help, go to .
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