The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Wallop Defence Systems Finded £376,000

Graham Marshall - Monday, December 31, 2012

Wallop Defence Systems Ltd (WDS) has been ordered to pay £376,000 in fines and costs for safety failings that caused a fatal explosion at its Hampshire (UK) factory.

Anthony Sheridan, 37, was killed from injuries sustained in the blast at WDS in June 2006.

Mr Sheridan was emptying one of six industrial ovens used in the manufacture of military flares.

The ovens contained high levels of nitroglycerin (NG) that exploded, causing an explosion that destroyed the factory building.

Several other workers were injured in the incident, with blast debris landing up to 600' away.

Winchester Crown Court heard that WDS had realized in 2004 that their process for curing pellets as part of the production of military flares produced the explosive chemical as a by-product.

An investigation by the UK HSE found that none of the company's senior management team or technical advisers were competent to deal with the NG issue, but did not seek external professional assistance.

Reviewing the company's procedures since NG was discovered in 2004, UK HSE found WDS was not complying with the basics in explosive safety and failed to adhere to licensing requirements for the storage and processing of explosive substances.

Their failure to properly assess and manage the risk put workers and the public in danger.

A second explosion occurred in December 2008 when the company attempted to dismantle the remaining NG contaminated oven on the company's second site.

No one was injured in the explosion.

The court heard that the company failed to engage with the UK HSE and seek competent expert advice on dismantling it and that the incident was entirely foreseeable and avoidable.

WDS was fined a total of £266,000 and ordered to pay £110,000 in costs for three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, two relating to the fatal explosion and the other to the second blast.

Speaking after sentencing, Qamar Khan, Principal Inspector for UK HSE's explosives team, said: "Anthony Sheridan suffered horrifying injuries in the explosion that caused his death. "Both this explosion and the subsequent blast in December 2008 were foreseeable and preventable had the company sought and taken appropriate advice and implemented the correct measures. If these steps had been taken Anthony Sheridan would still be alive. "It is especially concerning that despite issues with the factory being reported to senior WDS management, nothing materially changed to safeguard employees and the public. The company deluded itself that everything was OK and in hand. "Companies working with dangerous substances must take extreme care at all times and in all aspects of their operations. That clearly didn't happen here, and the consequences were tragic."

NOPSEMA Report into Montara Blowout

Graham Marshall - Sunday, December 30, 2012

NOPSEMA has published a report prepared by an independent expert witness in relation to the Montara wellhead platform blowout on 21 August 2009 involving PTTEP AA.

Colin Stuart provided an expert opinion to assist in the investigation of the incident and to support the brief of evidence referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The report provides comprehensive consideration and analysis of the events leading up to, and immediately following, the incident and has been published by NOPSEMA to allow industry to benefit from key lessons learned, in particular improving barrier integrity awareness.


The report is available for download in three volumes via the Safety resources web page at NOPSEMA.



Annual Report for the Risk Management Tool Box

Graham Marshall - Saturday, December 29, 2012

The shareholders of the Risk Management Tool Box Pty Ltd are pleased to publish the Business' Performance Results for 2012.

We know that open and honest talking with our stake-holders is important to building trust and earning respect.

We therefore openly provide information about our business, including reporting our performance against our annual targets.

2012 was another excellent year for our business.

Although there has been a gloomy global economic climate, our continued focus on the core business needs of our cornerstone customers ensured we've weathered the storm. 

In 2012 we benefited from our business' continued presence in the economic powerhouse of Western Australia, and our recognition of the future role of "unconventionals".

Our strategic focus on the needs of our key customers in "unconventionals" in the three "boom" areas of WA, coal-seam gas around Roma in the Surat Basin in Queensland, and in the "black-gold" boom in the Bakken in North Dakota, USA has kept us 100% busy throughout 2012.

Key accomplishments for the Risk Tool Box in 2012 include:

•  Co-winning with Hess Corporation, the Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) and APPEAs Global Safety Innovation Award for 2012;

•  Broadening our knowledge and understanding about risk management requirements in unconventional oil and gas - particularly around "completion operations" and "frac";

•  Exceeding cash-flow and profitability targets;

•  Continuing to run a debt-free and cash-flow positive business for another straight year;

•  Meeting our tax obligations to the ATO;

•  Developing and commercialising our Hazard Observation Program with field-based trials with Eni (Australia);

•  Continuing our program of charitable donations throughout 2012;

•  Not recording any lost-time injuries;

•  Continuing to publish our Risk Tool Box safety blog as a free industry resource on a daily basis; and

•  Having a lot of fun along the way!

Unfortunately, we did not meet all of our targets. Performance was not as good as we had hoped in the following areas:

•  Our 49% shareholding in Eveleigh Consulting Pty Ltd (formerly trading as An Mea WA) has once again proved a great disapointment - with $0 delivered against our investment by Steve Williams and Sean O'Donnell, the management team of that business; and

•  We have not been successful in recruiting the people we need to grow the training-arm of our business;

But, despite those minor setbacks, we will continue to focus on our strong relationships with existing clients in Santos, Hess, Shell Development Australia and Fremantle Ports.

We will also continue to leverage the strengths of our staff in delivering high quality work from our offices in Perth to:

•  Consolidate and grow relationships with existing clients; and

•  Diversify our client base in our target industry sectors of oil and gas, particularly those involved in "unconventional" hydrocarbons.

Growth will be delivered by maintaining our office in Perth, and enhancing our training program with new customers.

Our strategy for 2012 has delivered value to our shareholders. It’s great to continue to return strong profitability and to reward the hard work of our staff by once again paying profit-based bonuses in 2012.

We are very confident that our continued presence in Perth, Roma (QLD), and in the Bakken, and our current focus on "unconventional" hydrocarbons means we're on the leading edge of the breaking wave in energy supply.

We are excited about our future and our growth plans are realistic and sustainable.

Safety Training Manager Job

Graham Marshall - Friday, December 28, 2012

We're actively seeking an entrepreneurial individual to take over the running of our training program.

The position requires a long term commitment and it will be compensated by a salary, a profit share, and we’re open to discussing an equity stake in the business for the right person.

We’re looking for someone to take our training program wherever they see the opportunities!

What we can provide

We’re very small but we've been offering a World-class suite of hazard and risk management training programs to the international oil and gas Exploration and Production sector.

We also have customers in mining, shipping, transportation and other “higher-risk” industries.

We’ve been very “niche” within the industry, but we are well known for specializing in hazard and risk management training.

We think we’re highly-regarded within the industry and our previous and existing customer base includes Shell, Hess Corp, Woodside, Santos and Eni.

Our training program includes modules in Stepback, JHA, Qualitative Risk Assessment, HazID and HazOp.  We've also offered specialist courses in incident investigation and managing HSE risks in contracts.

About You

We expect that you will already have a working knowledge of the hazard and risk management requirements within the international oil and gas EP industry and across the project life-cycle; including drilling, completions, construction, production, work-over and abandonment. 

You’ll need experience with both onshore work as well as offshore (marine) oil field work.

We also expect that you’ll have the skills to be able to run a small consultancy business and grow the business according to high moral standards, and in your own chosen direction.

What you’ll need on the HSE side

Firstly, you’ll need to be able to generate cash-flow by pitching for work and then delivering against a job-scope.  Without that skill, you’re a non-starter!

You’ll need to be able to work as a highly competent and well-regarded safety professional. 

For this “applied” part of the role, you’ll already know about OSHA requirements for US operations and the “safety case regime” for nearly everywhere else we work.

You’ll need proficiency in a range of hazard and risk management tools including “Stepback”, JSA, Risk Assessment, HazID, HazOp etc.

We’d also expect that the right person would meet some of the following requirements:

• Know about safety culture improvement strategies;

• Know about incident investigation methods;

• Be able to facilitate HSE training; and

• Be able to facilitate the use of risk management tools.

You’ll also need to be available for national and international travel from your home base.

Expected Qualifications

We’re not married to the idea that you’ll have loads of paper-qualifications; but we’re expecting that the right-person to take our business forward will probably meet some of the following expectations:

• International experience in the international EP sector across the full project life-cycle;

• An engaging personality;

• Very high-level of personal presentation together with associated skills;

• Facilitation of workshops expertise;

• Existing Management or Supervisory experience;

• An interest in safety culture;

• Experience working with people in a variety of environments including  office staff, supply base, land rigs, offshore platforms and rigs, ships, mines and road-transport operations;

• Minimum 5-10 years work experience in the EP sector.

• Advanced knowledge of HSE risk management tools and their proper usage; and

• Leadership development experience.

Applications from people holding Australian, UK or USA passports would be welcome.

What to do next

If you're interested in the role, send an email from our "contact us" page and tell us why you'd be the right person to manage our training programm.

Include with your email an attached Curriculum Vitae in PDF format.

Confined Space Entry Standard

Graham Marshall - Thursday, December 27, 2012

The importance of organizations having a good Confined Space Entry Standard for employee use within confined spaces cannot be understated.

Confined spaces are either partially or completely enclosed working environments.

They are only meant for short-term worker occupancy.

And entering confined spaces is always "high-risk" because of many factors like space-design, previous storage history, and atmosphere.

When implementing an appropriate Confined Space Standard of control, the risk to workers who perform in confined spaces and the hazards and dangers they face can be substantially reduced to the ALARP level.

Employers can keep workers safe by reducing accidents and also save money when they present their workers with a planned and safe working environment.

The picture below gives four key characteristics of confined spaces and then goes on to provide clear explanation and illustration for safety.

• Lack of oxygen results in 50% of confined space worker fatalities.

• Four important steps when working in a confined space.

• One quarter of confined spaces have toxic air environments.

• A loss in just 5% oxygen in the air causes impaired judgement as well as problems breathing.

Employers who develop proper Confined Space Entry Standards and provide training and education to workers can reduce fatalities and accidents.

Identifying and controlling the hazards, and understanding what to do in an emergency are critical.

There is no reason why anyone needs to lose their life working in a confined space.


Anniversary of the Launch of the Risk Tool Box Blog

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today, 26th December 2012 marks the 2nd anniversary of the launch of the Risk Management Tool Box safety blog.

Over the previous two years, we've have met our goal of having a post on a safety-related topic each and every day.

That mean's we've published more than 700 individual posts!  Wow.

And in those two years, our daily readership has risen from about 20 visitors in the first week to now regularly receiving over 2,000 visitors per day.  We're justifiably proud of this result.

Our blog is our way of "giving-back" to the HSE community in the oil and gas industry all around the globe, some of the benefit that we've received by playing a small role in this great industry.

So thanks for visiting, and we hope you find some of the stuff on our blog to be useful in your work.

 Enjoy your holidays and please be save in this festive season!




Merry Christmas from the Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, December 25, 2012

If, like us, you're sick and tired of the PC "happy holidays", then "Merry Christmas" to you!


Vehicle Roll-overs are a Common Problem

Graham Marshall - Monday, December 24, 2012

This Safety Alert from APPEA demonstrates how easy it is to lose control of a vehicle when driving on oil-field roads.

It's been our experience that oil-field roads all over the world pose particular threats to drivers; whether it be from high-traffic volumes, the movement of large vehicles, use of roads by non-oilfield traffic, broken pavement, narrow roads, blown sand, blown snow, or other problematic weather factors like ice, fog or rain.

In all cases, the key to oil-field driving is to slow down, take your time, and plan ahead.

After all, it doesn't matter how quickly you get there, what matters is how quickly you stop at the end.


Exclusion Zones in Crane Operations

Graham Marshall - Sunday, December 23, 2012

This Safety Alert from APPEA highlights the need to enforce procedures for crane operations.

It shows, firstly, the need for exclusion zones, in terms of establishing an area around the "drop zone" of any potential object which could fall; and secondly, the need to ensure that no person is allowed to enter the exclusions zone. 


Safety Alert - BOP Failure

Graham Marshall - Saturday, December 22, 2012

The importance of servicing, period maintenance, and regular inspections of safety critical equipment is highlighted in this recent safety alert from APPEA.

The safety alert highlights how a Blow-out Preventer (BOP) failed under pressure on a drill rig, resulting in rig parts being uncontrollably ejected across the rig floor. 

One part was blown by the pressure release a distance of 9-10 meters (30 feet).

Thankfully, no rig crew members where injured during the incident.

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