A HSE Management System is an integrated approach where all the 3 HSE factors are effectively managed to reduce risks in the workplace and environment. The objective of a HSE Management System is to provide a structured management approach to control health, safety and environmental risks.
International standard ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems lists down requirements with guidance for use. ISO 14001;2015 Environment Management Systems sets out the criteria for an environmental management system.
Regardless of the industry you are in, all organisations need a comprehensive, well-documented HSE management system to ensure that all personnel are safe and environment are protected. A HSE management system must be written down, communicated and practised.
The key elements of a successful HSE management system include:
- HSE plan and inspection checklists
- Risk assessments and monitoring
- Training and induction
A HSE plan is a strategic action plan which sets out all current and prospective risks for the company. It provides an analysis of all risks present, with an outline of how to remove said risks. This HSE plan helps to set up a framework for all workers to follow and be held accountable to maintain the HSE record of the workplace. A HSE plan also comprises of HSE inspection checklists and emergency response plans.
Risk assessments document all risks in the workplace. This helps in protecting all workers and surrounding people from potential hazards. All areas of HSE non-compliance are outlined in the assessment and aid in ensuring proper solutions are in place. After risk assessment, risk monitoring is to be conducted depending on the risk level to maintain HSE in place.
Reporting of HSE elements is needed to monitor the performance of HSE elements. HSE key performance indicators (KPI) are needed to measure the performance of the HSE aspects. These KPI help to identify areas that need improvement. KPI for HSE include Lost Time Injury (LTI), number of accidents and incidents, productive days, near misses, etc.
All workers need to receive adequate training on the various HSE rules and procedures at the worksite. A thorough training program includes all HSE aspects e.g. PPE training, fire drills, scheduled waste management, management of pollution control equipment, etc. These trainings must be recorded to keep track of the training to ensure a successful HSE management system. In conclusion, the management plays a critical role in making HSE management system a success.
Layer of Protection Analysis also known as LOPA is a risk management technique commonly used in the chemical process industry that can provide a more detailed, semi-quantitative assessment of the risks and layers of protection associated with hazard scenarios. LOPA is a means to identify the scenarios that present the most significant risk and determine if the consequences could be reduced by the application of inherently safer design principles. LOPA can also be used to identify the need for safety instrumented systems (SIS) or other protection layers to improve process safety.
LOPA is a risk assessment methodology which uses simplified, conservative rules to define risk as a function of both frequency and potential consequence severity. LOPA is defined as a simplified risk assessment of a one cause – one consequence pair.
Conceptually, LOPA is used to understand how a process deviation can lead to a hazardous consequence if not interrupted by the successful operation of a safeguard called an independent protection layer (IPL). An IPL is a safeguard that can prevent a scenario from propagating to a consequence of concern without being adversely affected by either the initiating event or by the action (or inaction) of any other protection layer in the same scenario.
Examples of IPLs are as follows:
- Standard operating procedures,
- Basic process control systems,
- Alarms with defined operator response,
- Safety instrumented systems (SIS),
- Pressure relief devices,
- Blast walls and dikes,
- Fire and gas systems, and
- Deluge systems.
LOPA can be used at any point in the lifecycle of a project or process, but it is most cost effective when implemented during front-end loading when process flow diagrams are complete and the P&IDs are under development. For existing processes, LOPA should be used during or after the HAZOP review or revalidation. LOPA is typically applied after a qualitative hazards analysis has been completed, which provides the LOPA team with a listing of hazard scenarios with associated consequence description and potential safeguards for consideration.
The six major steps to the LOPA process are as follows:
- Record all reference documentation
- Document the process deviation and hazard scenario under consideration by the team
- Identify all of the initiating causes for the process deviation and determine the frequency of each initiating cause
- Determine the consequence of the hazard scenario
- List the IPLs that can completely mitigate all listed initiating causes
- Provide specific implementable recommendations
There are four primary benefits to implementing LOPA over other SIL assignment methodologies procedures.
- Due to its scenario-related focus on the process risk, LOPA often reveals process safety issues that were not identified in previous qualitative hazards analysis.
- Process hazards are directly connected to the safety actions that must take place, providing clear identification of the safety instrumented systems and associated SIL.
- It has been proven effective in resolving disagreements related to qualitative hazards analysis findings.
- LOPA often identifies acceptable alternatives to the SIS, such as adding other layers of protection, modifying the process, or changing procedures. This provides options for the project team to evaluate using cost/benefit analysis, allowing the most cost effective means of risk reduction to be selected.
In conclusion, LOPA allows the safety review team an opportunity to discover weaknesses and strengths in the safety systems used to protect employees, the plant, and the public.