On Demand Audio

Navigating the Complex Challenges of Responding to Major Industrial Incidents

(78 reviews)

Produced on April 15, 2019

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Course Information

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Federal and state agencies, as well as local authorities, continue to scrutinize environmental, health, and safety (EHS) accidents to determine whether violations occurred either in advance or the aftermath of the incident. Enforcement can include both corporate entities and individuals, and may be influenced by local politics as well as the media. This program, taught by Reed Smith attorneys Benjamin Patton and Mary Balaster, will cover topics associated with the response to industrial incidents in the energy industry, including releases, explosions, whistleblower investigations, and other events. Specifically, the presenters will discuss trends in government investigations and criminal prosecution, as well as considerations for attorneys responding to and managing these cases.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the workflow of responding to industrial accidents in the energy industry

  2. Discuss trends in regulation and enforcement related to industrial accidents

  3. Advise clients on best practices in responding to accidents, including communication with the media and local officials

Credit Information

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Faculty

Mary Balaster

Reed Smith

Mary concentrates her practice in health and safety-related enforcement matters, with a focus in crisis management matters involving spills, toxic releases and other workplace incidents. She counsels clients In connection with major industrial accidents, crisis response, process safety incidents and workplace fatalities. In addition, she works extensively with technical experts and auditors to provide compliance advice regarding existing or developing safety programs at complex facilities.

Mary is also experienced in a broad range of environmental matters, including climate change, water quality, and waste permitting and remediation issues. Prior to joining Reed Smith, Mary worked as an environmental engineer for more than 10 years in both upstream and downstream business units for a multinational energy company, where she provided compliance support and advocacy for a variety of environmental program areas.




Benjamin H. Patton

Reed Smith

Ben concentrates his practice on environmental and safety regulatory and compliance matters. He routinely counsels companies in connection with major industrial accidents, internal investigations and root cause analysis (RCA), workplace culture, compliance assurance, crisis response, whistleblowers, process safety incidents, and workplace injuries and fatalities. Ben also advises companies on government agency investigations and enforcement, environmental litigation, and response to regulatory rulemakings.

Ben has represented clients in response to investigations by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and state and local regulatory agencies and public service commissions.

A significant part of Ben's practice involves counseling companies on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) culture and the management of process safety. He advises energy companies with upstream, midstream, and downstream operations on emerging regulatory requirements and systems for overseeing EHS performance, and has worked on several of the most significant industrial incidents of the past decade.

Additionally, Ben advises energy companies on the development of robust process safety management systems and procedures. Ben is trained and certified in upstream and offshore safety and emergency procedures.