Safety of the Plant, Surrounding People, and the Environment – QRA

Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) is to evaluate risks in ensuring that major risks of facilities are understood and managed within ALARP.

QRA makes sure that:

  1. The hazards and the associated risks inherent in the design and operations are systematically identified and assessed.
  2. Basis to demonstrate safety has been identified and incorporated in the design.
  3. Arrangements are in place to manage these risks to ALARP.

QRA is a quantitative risk assessment approach which shall provide information on the following:

  1. Identification of hazards and potential hazardous events
  2. Estimation of likelihood, causes, possible escalation and consequences of hazardous events and the adequacy of the mitigation measures
  3. Identification of the dominating risk contributors and appropriate risk reduction, if applicable, which can potentially reduce the risk“>risk
  4. Demonstration of risk to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) in accordance to risk acceptance criteria.

QRA also supports statutory compliance under the Control of Industrial Major Accident Hazards (CIMAH) 1996 Regulations by Malaysian Government Department of Occupational, Safety and Health (DOSH), and HSE Case for upstream facilities.

QRA study/review shall be carried out throughout the full lifecycle of project, facilities and operation:

  1. Design Stage
  2. Operations Stage

The QRA shall be reviewed as follows:

  1. Onshore facilities – every three (3) years as part of CIMAH report review for Major Hazard Installation.
  2. Offshore facilities – every five (5) years as part of HSE Case review.
  3. Significant changes or modification to the project, facilities and operations that has the potential to introduce new hazards.

Among the common software used for the risk modelling and analysis:

  • Safeti
  • TNO Effects and Riskcurves

QRA is important to determine the risk of a facility whether it is acceptable or not hence it is important for the facility owner to conduct QRA to ensure the safety of the facility workers, surrounding people, and the environment.

Fail to Plan is Planning to Fail!

Emergency response plan is a definite plan to deal with major emergencies.

Emergency response plan includes:

  • All possible emergencies, consequences, required actions, written procedures, and the resources available.
  • Detailed lists of emergency response personnel including their cell phone numbers, alternate contact details, and their duties and responsibilities.
  • Floor plans.
  • Large scale maps showing evacuation routes and service conduits (such as gas and water lines).

An emergency response plan specifies procedures for handling sudden or unexpected situations to:

  • Prevent fatalities and injuries.
  • Reduce damage to buildings, stock, and equipment.
  • Protect the environment and the community.
  • Accelerate the resumption of normal operations.

The emergency response plan includes the forming of an Emergency Response Team (ERT). Each of the ERT members will have specific roles and responsibilities during an emergency. ERT generally consists of:

  • Emergency Commander
  • Emergency Coordinator
  • First Line Crew / Rescue Squad
  • First Aider
  • Security Team
  • Floor Warden

Completing a comprehensive plan for handling emergencies is a major step toward preventing disasters. Exercises and drills may be conducted to practice all or critical portions (such as evacuation) of the plan. The plan should be revised when shortcomings have become known and should be reviewed at least annually.

Investigate Cause of An Incident to Prevent Recurrence

Incident investigation is a formal process for investigating incidents, reporting and tracking. This process also includes the resolution and recommendations generated by the investigations. The results/findings of the investigation process should be documented in a standard incident report form.

Incident investigation is a way of learning from incidents that occur over the life of a facility and communicating the lessons learned to the workers. By identifying and addressing the root causes of equipment failures and personnel errors, leveraged solutions can be developed that will reduce the frequency of incidents and/or reduce the consequences of the incidents. Output of the incident investigation should be used to improve the safety performance of the plant.

Incident investigations are conducted whenever and wherever incidents occur. The investigation team will collect information at the incident scene and conduct interviews with victim and witness. Reporting to the management is important as they are the policy makers. Investigation procedure is documented as guidelines for investigator(s) to perform investigation.

The incident investigation team would perform the following general steps:

  • Scene management and assessment (secure the scene, make sure it is safe for investigators to do their job).
  • Witness management (interview victim and witnesses).
  • Investigate the incident, collect data.
  • Analyze the data, identify the root causes.
  • Report the findings and recommendations.

Personnel who have formal training in incident investigation or root cause analysis typically perform investigations and lead investigation teams. A multidisciplinary team is appropriate for incident investigations with greater consequences and risks. At some facilities, the incident investigation is used to assign blame to personnel involved in an incident. A more effective approach is to develop recommendations that address the systemic causes of the incidents.

PTW – Trouble or Safety?

Permits to work will often be found in high-risk industries, but what is their purpose?

A permit to work system is a formal documented system, used to control high-risk activities. They are usually issued by a manager or supervisor and allow a person or group of people to carry out a task, under strict controls.

Permits will authorize certain personnel to carry out high-risk work at a specific time, providing that the procedures detailed in the permit are followed. Permits to work are likely to be required for activities such as electrical works, hot works, excavations, work at height and confined space works.

So how do permits to work ensure safety?

  • A manager or supervisor will give written permission to carry out a task
  • Ensure every aspect of the work is planned
  • Make sure every aspect of the work is checked
  • Communicate health and safety information
  • Provide control procedure in place
  • Return the area to a safe state on completion of the work
  • Give a means of communication and written record

Types of Work Permit:

  • Hot Work Permit – Authorization to perform tasks in conditions that produce sparks, flames, or any other source of ignition.
  • Excavation Permit – Authorization for personnel to mine or dig land to build infrastructure, extract resources, etc.
  • Work-at-Height Permit – Authorization to work on elevated spaces e.g. ladders, scaffolds, Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP), and other spaces that are elevated.
  • Electrical Isolation Permit – Authorization to work in high voltage zones. Common electrical isolation work is to manage and maintain lockout/tagout systems.
  • Confined Spaces Work Permit – Authorization to perform tasks in a narrow space that is prone to hazards like asphyxiation, fire, toxic atmosphere, etc.

In order for the permit to work and fulfill its purpose, it needs to cover all the legal requirements and strict adherence to the procedures by all workers.

Contractor May Affect Your Safety Performance at Plant!

Why is contractor management important?

Using contractors involves an outside organization that will create risk to the site company. The contractors who are unfamiliar with the facility may create process hazards to the company. Thus companies must recognize and address challenges associated with using contractors; and select contractors based on stringent criteria. Only then can the company ensure safety of all people (onsite and offsite).

Contractor management is a system of controls to ensure that contracted services support safe facility operations. This element addresses the selection, acquisition, use, and monitoring of such contracted services. Systems must be established for qualifying firms based upon not only their technical capabilities, but also their safety programs and safety records.

The boundaries of authority and responsibilities must be clearly defined for any contractor that works at the facility. Periodic monitoring of contractor safety performance and auditing of contractor management systems is required. After completion of the work, evaluation of the safety performance should help to determine whether the contractor can be used again in any future work.

Contractors are not familiar with the facility safety controls and procedures hence the company needs to train them to understand the safety controls and procedures prior to them starting their work. The company must also make contractor to aware that they treat safety seriously and the contractors must adhere to all safety rules, guidelines, procedures, etc. while performing their job. Training must be provided to contractors if they are handling critical tasks that may create major process safety hazards.

Don’t treat contractor management as a petty issue, it can create process safety hazards if it is not well managed.