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Deer Park site receives Texas Chemical Council award

Shell Chemical LP Deer Park receives the 2012 Caring for Texas Award for exemplary results and demonstrated commitment to its employees and the community.
From left:  Mike Cunningham and Brent Dyer of Shell Deer Park accept the Texas Chemical Council 2012 Caring for Texas Award from Mark Bogle, TCC Outreach Committee Chairman.

From left: Mike Cunningham and Brent Dyer of Shell Deer Park accept the Texas Chemical Council 2012 Caring for Texas Award from Mark Bogle, TCC Outreach Committee Chairman.

Shell Chemical LP Deer Park is a recipient of the 2012 Caring for Texas Award for exemplary results and demonstrated commitment to its employees and the community.

The Texas Chemical Council (TCC), a trade association of chemical manufacturing facilities, presented a plaque to Shell Deer Park at an awards banquet June 6 at the Moody Gardens Conference Center in Galveston. Representing Shell were Mike Cunningham, Senior Engineer-H&S Compliance; Brent Dyer, Water Reporting Supervisor; and Julie Pascoe, Communications and Social Performance Advisor.

The Caring for Texas Award promotes continuous improvement in community awareness, emergency response, and pollution prevention by TCC member companies.

“This award represents that we’re being a very good steward of the environment and protecting our people,” Dyer says. “It’s nice to be recognized, especially by an organization the size of the TCC.”

TCC’s membership comprises approximately 68 Texas chemical manufacturers, which combined employ more than 74,000 Texans at over 200 separate facilities across the state.

Cunningham, the site’s representative on the TCC and a member of the organization’s Occupational Safety Subcommittee, says Shell Deer Park stood out for its ongoing sustained efforts in health, safety, and environmental protection.

“We strive to have the correct training in place so that people take the right actions, along with instrumentation that automatically takes action,” Cunningham notes.

“We’re proud to have qualified and won the award. It demonstrates our company’s concern and commitment for the welfare of our employees, community, and environment.”

To even qualify for the award, the Deer Park chemical plant had to meet specific criteria for TCC member facilities with more than 500 employees.

This criteria included an employee response program for community concerns; employee involvement in community outreach; environmental and safety performance reporting system information available to the community; and no fires, plant incidents, or chemical releases in 2012 that resulted in known exposure to the public.

A panel of community and TCC judges ranked nominees based on their community, health, safety, environment, and emergency response performances.

In addition to the qualification criteria, the site showcased the following accomplishments during 2012:

  • Risk-based analyses on processes
  • Adequate control and recovery barriers (including sprinklers and detectors)
  • Partnerships and involvement with local schools, educational foundations, rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, and community/environmental organizations
  • Active participation in Channel Industries Mutual Aid (CIMA) emergency response drills and training and the Deer Park local emergency planning committee (LEPC)
  • On-site drill with employees and contractors to test the plant’s new electronic accountability system
  • On-site fire crew of 15 emergency medical responders and firefighters and two volunteer fire chiefs, who  also volunteer in their communities

The plant also earned recognition for several proactive waste minimization and pollution prevention initiatives, including: 

  • Nine percent reduction in waste
  • Recycling of 53,000 tons of concrete, asphalt, filter media, spent catalyst, and some soils at a cost savings of $447,000
  • Employee education and training on waste material segregation

“There’s a big push here to recycle, reclaim and reuse,” says Diana Henk, Environmental Specialist, who assisted with the environmental part of the award nomination form.

“That’s helping us think and work smarter. It’s sustainability achieved by innovation. Mike Smith [Waste Coordinator] and Flo Vuelvas [Waste Specialist] built a great foundation for educating Operations and unit personnel on how to segregate materials, which is enabling us to recycle materials that were historically managed as waste.”

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Shell Deer Park Refinery

Shell Deer Park is a 1,500-acre complex located in Deer Park, Texas, approximately 20 miles east of downtown Houston along the Houston Ship Channel. Founded in 1929, Shell Deer Park is now home to 1,700 employees who operate a fully integrated refinery and petrochemical facility 24 hours a day.