The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Failure of Procedure On MODU

Graham Marshall - Friday, November 30, 2012

Because we're so involved in writing good and "user-friendly" procedures for our key clients across drilling and completion operations, we're always amazed when incident investigations for major high potential incidents commonly reveal the problems which work crews have when it comes to implementing the procedures they have in other organizations.

This safety alert from APPEA in Australia highlights the common problems in which:

1. The Procedures which were being used did not specify the sequential timing of the steps to be followed;

2.  The Procedure was not followed; and

3. The safety critical steps within the procedure are not clearly mandated and where necessary supported by pre- and post-operation checklists to enable evaluation and auditing that the procedure is fit for purpose and being followed.

Procedures are a vital tool in the risk management tool box of any company working in the oil-field, and we know how to get them right.  You only have to ask!  I guess that's why we were awarded SPEs global HSE Innovation Award in 2012 for our procedure development work on isolation of pumping units.


Falls from height on Ships

Graham Marshall - Thursday, November 29, 2012

Enclosed today is another excellent safety alert from the folks at the Marine Safety Forum.

To access the safety alert, simply click here.

Australasian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference, 2013

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference returns to Perth, Western Australia on 20-22 February 2013. 

So put those dates in your diary if you're in Perth at the time.

Process Safety Key Performance Indicators

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Process safety key performance indicators (KPIs) can be a combination of leading and lagging indicators which can assist with the assessment of an operator’s safety management system.

Process safety lagging indicators are retrospective and outcome-based, and will generally be set to show critical deviations from desired outcomes.

They may describe a failure of risk controls or safeguards which has led to a dangerous occurrence.

For example, an operator may record the number of loss of containment (LOC) events, the number of times a safety system has been activated and when equipment process parameters approach, or exceed, established alarm levels or safe operating limits.

Process safety leading indicators, however, are forward looking and input-based reflecting the fundamental controls and safeguards that are in place to signal defects or weaknesses prior to any failure.

For example, an operator may monitor the effectiveness of controls by performing timely inspections on safety-critical equipment, maintaining a minimum maintenance back-log on safety-critical equipment and tracking the actions of process audits.

In certain situations, a KPI can be both a leading and a lagging indicator. For example, the reporting of dangerous occurrences (often referred to as ‘near misses’). Dangerous occurrences provide leading information on the likelihood of accidents occurring and also provide lagging information on weaknesses in existing controls.

Comprehensive investigations of dangerous occurrences can contribute significantly to continuous improvement in asset integrity and process safety, whether used to identify weaknesses in controls or as a warning of a potential disaster.

Process safety requires the facility operator to be proactive and predictive in the development of comprehensive KPIs.

Leading and lagging indicators can be used to help drive performance improvements and prevent LOC events.

The development and measurement of adequate leading and lagging KPIs requires that an operator assess their engineering design, implemented inspection, maintenance and repair regimes and any changes made under the management of change process.

Process safety KPIs (both leading and lagging) should generate relevant data which can be analysed to inform preventative actions, such as management system revisions, procedural changes, training opportunities and facility engineering improvements.
KPIs should be selected and implemented only if they will generate statistically-relevant performance data that is specific to the safety-critical controls of a facility.

Danger of Helicopter Rotor Downwash

Graham Marshall - Monday, November 26, 2012

This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum highlights the potential danger to Helispot Officers if they prematurely  approach a helicopter during the landing phase. 

In this incident, the HLO got hit by turbulence from the helicopter rotor blades and he fell to the deck, breaking his arm.

Corrective actions to prevent this type of incident occurring again include:

 Rotor downwash to be discussed in Toolbox Talks before helicopter operations;

 Mark on yellow deck area between funnels: ‘No Personnel during take-off and Landing’;

 Revise Risk Assessment regarding the dangers of rotor downwash;

 Mark bulkheads in the area: ‘Beware of Rotor Downwash’; and

 Handrail to be installed.

Safety Alert for Volatile Solvents

Graham Marshall - Sunday, November 25, 2012

This safety alert is about the adverse health effects of volatile solvents and thinners.

All volatile solvents have the potential to cause a person to lose consciousness, and suffer a cardiac arrhythmia and possibly death when used in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area.

Toluene xylene, hexane, methyl ethyl ketone, naphthalene, and other petroleum-based solvents have been implicated in many fatal accidents. Other chemicals present in proprietary thinners can greatly increase skin absorption causing or exacerbating toxic effects.

In a recent case in Australia, a young worker died while using a volatile solvent to clean the inside of a boat’s hull.

The solvent vapours were inhaled and the solvent absorbed through the skin causing the young worker to lose consciousness and die due to cardiac arrhythmias.

The solvent being used was similar to paint thinners.

It had a combination of volatile ingredients that made it easy to inhale vapours and the solvent was readily absorbed through the skin. The boat hull had no ventilation to remove the solvent vapours.

No appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) was worn, such as a respiratory mask or gloves.

The Risk Management Tool Box reminds any person controlling a business or undertaking that they must:

 Manage the risk to health and safety associated when using, handling, generating or storing a hazardous chemical at a workplace, as outlined in clause 351 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation).

 Ensure that information, training and instruction on the risks associated with the use of volatile solvents and thinners is provided to workers, as outlined in clause 39 of the WHS Regulation;

 Ensure that a current Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is readily accessible to any worker who uses a hazardous chemical, as outlined in clause 344 of the WHS Regulation;

 Ensure that no-one at the workplace is exposed to airborne concentrations of hazardous chemicals that exceed the exposure standard, as outlined in clause 49 of the WHS Regulation;

 Provide appropriate PPE, as per the requirements of clauses 44-47 of the WHS Regulation;

 Ensure there are no ignition sources present, such as lighting or electrical equipment that is not designed for safe use in hazardous atmospheres, as outlined in clauses 51, 52 and 355 of the WHS Regulation;

 Follow the requirements outlined in clauses 62-77 of the WHS Regulation if the work is undertaken in a confined space.

Other risk management controls which contribute to good practice include the following suggestions:

 Substitute the solvent-based cleaner with a water-based cleaner;

 Ensure there is enough ventilation to keep the solvent vapours below the Australian Exposure Standard (ES);

 Read the MSDS to determine what PPE is necessary to prevent absorption, and what engineering controls are appropriate;

 Train workers on how to use PPE;

 For areas that are enclosed or partially enclosed, stand outside the area and use a long-handled mop to clean the confined area;

 Ensure there are no ignition sources when using solvents in an enclosed or partially enclosed area, as there is potential for creating a hazardous atmosphere;

Additional Information

 AS 2865: 2009 Working in confined spaces;

 AS/NZ 60079.10.1: 2009: Explosive atmospheres – classification of areas – explosive gas atmospheres; and

 AS/NZ 1715: 2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment.

Lighting is a Natural Hazard

Graham Marshall - Saturday, November 24, 2012

The natural hazard presented by lightning was highlighted recently when a direct strike at Venezuela's 146,000-barrels-per-day El Palito refinery caused a blast and subsequent fire in a large tank farm at the site.

The electrical storm set fire to two naphtha storage tanks at El Palito in central Venezuela.

Officials said the fire was some distance from production units at El Palito. But fire fighters battled blazes in storage tanks there for days before bringing them under control.

It's been a very bad month for President Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela who are struggling under his rule as another disaster at Amuay, the South American country's biggest oil refinery, occurred when a gas leak caused an explosion that killed 42 people, injured dozens and damaged 1,600 homes.


Do you have a problem with alcohol?

Graham Marshall - Friday, November 23, 2012

Since it's Friday and the end of the working week for many folks, I'm posting a short psychological test from the World Health Organization (WHO, 1989) which can be used to evaluate if you have, or are developing a problem with alcohol.

The test asks ten (10) simple questions and you assign a score to each question for your honest answers.

I am also posting an interpretation sheet which will help you to understand what your responses to the test may indicate about your alcohol consumption.

The psychological test and the interpretation sheet can both be found by clicking the links below.


AUDIT scoring and interpretation.pdf

Aussie BBQ Safety Tips

Graham Marshall - Thursday, November 22, 2012

As BBQs are brought out for the summer season across Australia, we're warning people to be careful when firing up the grill or filling up the gas cylinder.

There have already been a spate of recent petrol station fires and a series of LPG and barbecue fires caused largely by wear and tear on gas hoses and burners.

The petrol station fires have been caused by unsafe decanting of LPG into smaller cylinders for use in barbecues.

LPG cylinders should be placed on the ground to limit the risk of static electricity build from the flow of gas.

They should also never be left unattended while being filled as this can lead to overfilling and gas escaping.

In NSW alone, the fire service has dealt with 64 barbecue fires and 67 leaking or damaged LPG cylinders and hoses, most from barbecue cylinders.

If LPG cylinders and hoses looked old or perished, they should be checked by a specialist at local barbecue, camping or caravan stores. He said a new hose and regulator for gas cylinders could be purchased for less than $50.

Here are some other safety tips for this year's BBQ season:

 Never use an LPG cylinder indoors or in a confined space;

 Check cylinders for rust or damage and make sure connections are clear and fit properly before lighting;

 Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the correct start-up and shut-down procedures;

 After use, make sure the gas is turned off at the cylinder;

 Never put flammable liquid on to a BBQ;

 Keep children away from the BBQ and store lighters and matches in a secure place;

 If a gas leak occurs and it is safe to do so, shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to disperse; and

 In an emergency, get away, stay away and call triple-0.

Lucky escape for Bakken driver

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The driver of this vehicle in the North Dakota oil patch near Keene had very lucky escape when he decided to make a turn in front of an oncoming 18-wheeler!

Please think about your driving each day and get in the habit of practicing your "defensive  driving skills".

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