Numerous chemicals are handled at Obbola paper mill, of which sulphur dioxide is the most hazardous. Safety regarding the chemicals is a very high priority for us and we are continually working to improve our safety systems to prevent accidents.
Nevertheless, accidents may occur that could impact people within the plant area as well as those who live in the vicinity of Obbola.
The alarm number is 112. The person who alerts shall be prepared to respond to the concierge's questions.
Important announcement to the public – VMA sirens
If a serious accident occurs at Obbola that puts residents in the vicinity at risk, then an alert is issued over the "Important announcement to the public" warning system (VMA). A VMA siren tone means that you should go indoors, close windows, doors and ventilation systems and listen to the radio for more information. Information can also be obtained on Text TV, on SVT text page 599. The VMA siren consists of a seven-second tone followed by a 14-second pause, repeated for at least two minutes. Once the danger is over, a "Danger over" siren is sounded, which consists of a 30- to 40-second long tone. The VMA alert and "Danger over" sirens are tested on the first non-holiday Monday of each quarter at 3 p.m.
How we minimize risks
SCA Obbola handles a number of hazardous substances and chemicals. Security is high priority, and we are constantly working to improve our security systems to prevent accidents. Despite this, there may be accidents that may affect both those in the factory area and those living in the environment and the environment.
Systematic risk assessments
Risk assessments are carried out systematically and the entire plant's operations have been investigated regarding risks of chemical emissions, fire and explosion. The analysis shows that almost all possible damage is limited to the industrial area and does not affect the public. What could affect the immediate environment and local residents is whether a larger fire would occur in the industrial area, with strong smoke evolution and the release of extinction water as a consequence.
Swedish legislation measures to prevent major chemical accidents based on the so-called "Seveso II Directive" adopted by the European Union.
The directive has been legalized under Swedish law and in ordinances regarding measures to prevent and limit the consequences of serious chemical accidents. Obbola paper mill is covered by this legislation.
According to the directive, members of the general public that risk being affected by a serious chemical accident must be informed regarding what safety measures will be taken and what they should do in the event of an accident.
The directive specifies two requirement levels. Operations at Obbola paper mill fall under the higher requirement level and a safety report has therefore been submitted to the appropriate authorities. The safety report is based on risk analyses and technical safety reviews of operations within the mill area.
As an operator, the mill is obligated to prevent the risk of serious chemical accidents. In the event of a chemical accident, the company is obligated to limit the consequences to peoples' health as well as the environment. The company is also obligated to cooperate with the municipal fire and rescue service.
Fire and Rescue Service
It is the task of the fire and rescue service to prevent fires and other accidents and the consequences thereof. Preventative measures are also a high priority for the fire and rescue service, which involves reducing societal risks while simultaneously preventing new accidents.
The work methods of the fire and rescue service can be explained in five steps:
- Prevent accidents: The fire and rescue service's work to prevent accidents occurs mainly through education, information and fire inspections. At Obbola paper mill, there are exacting requirements to prevent accidents from occurring. The fire and rescue service participates in accident prevention efforts at Obbola by conducting regular inspections. In addition, they provide training and information to plant employees. Obbola also has a fully operational internal inspection process.
- Injury prevention measures: It is important to work on injury prevention measures to minimize the consequences of a potential accident. The fire and rescue service provides training and information, conducts fire inspections and participates as an advisor on new construction and renovations at an early stage to ensure the best possible fire protection. Numerous measures have been taken at Obbola paper mill to minimize the effects of a potential accident. For example, there are sprinklers and automatic fire alarms installed, as well as protective embankments around the tanks to prevent hazardous chemicals from leaking out.
- Fire and rescue preparation efforts: Fire and rescue forces prepare themselves for rescue actions through education, exercises, physical training, study visits and response planning. Inspections of vehicles and materials are conducted daily or weekly to ensure that all equipment is functional. Together with Obbola paper mill, the fire and rescue service has a joint rescue and response plan that aims to ensure that appropriate measures are taken in the event of serious fire or chemical accidents. Obbola also has its own well-trained response team that trains on a regular basis with the fire and rescue service.
- Fire and rescue response: The fire and rescue service organization consists of a full-time station in Umeå, which can respond within 15 minuts. Almost all alarms received at the SOS Alarm center from Obbola are automatic fire alarms, most of which are not caused by a fire. Obbola's own response team is the first to act on all alarms within the plant area, serving until fire and rescue service personnel arrive on the scene.
- Response follow-up: After every accident/response, it is important to conduct follow-up and evaluate more closely the causes and sequence of events to improve the ability to prevent and handle similar events in the future.
Together with police, the fire and rescue service conducts fire investigations to determine the cause of a fire. In addition, the fire and rescue service conducts so-called residual value rescue where smoke, water and corrosion damage are dealt with.
Employees at Obbola also investigate any accidents, incidents or fires that occur at the mill.