The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Importance of Isolation Procedures

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Continuing on from yesterday's post, here is another excellent safety alert from the good folks at APPEA in Australia.

The alert highlights how a 1 ton diverter plate was allowed to uncontrollably fall, narrowly missing a worker, when the support mechanisms for the plate were inadequate.

As with many such types of incidents, the safety alert notes that a significant causal factor related to inadequate procedures for what was, a significant risk activity.  The weakness in procedural control was highlighted in relation to required isolation processes to control the kinetic energy in the plate.




Management of Change on Drill Rigs

Graham Marshall - Monday, December 10, 2012

This week, starting Monday 10th of December, I'm dedicating the Risk Tool Box blog to a fantastic series of important safety alerts put out by APPEA down-under in Australia.

Starting today, you can read this safety alert regarding the importance of having a thorough Management of Change (MOC) process for any changes which are made to a facility.

In the example shown here, a walkway on an onshore drill-rig was modified, but insufficient MOC was performed and the walkway later collapsed under load with two rig hands standing on the walkway.

Thankfully, neither of the workers was injured.  But the potential was there for very serious consequences.




Monitoring Social Media to Speed Emergency Resposne Capability

Graham Marshall - Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Research Boffins at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have created an ingenesous piece of software called Emergency Situation Awareness (ESA) which detects unusual behaviour in the social media stream (e.g., "twitter") and alert professionals in the emergency services when an emergency situation is being broadcast online.

Doing this allows the CSIOR ESA softwarre to monitor socical media streams and show emerging topics and flag them for investigation.

Searches are being repeated every minute to look for emergency-related words that are used more often than usual.  Such words might include "fire", "earthquake", "flood", "tsunami" and such like other words used to described catastrophic disasters.

These detected ‘word bursts’ are extracted, stored and are made available for access by incident response agencies via the ESA web application.

ESA provides situation awareness with the use of data mining techniques including burst detection, text classification, online clustering and geo-tagging.

These techniques are adapted and optimised for dealing with real-time high volume text streams, which identify early indicators of unexpected situations, explore impact of identified situations and monitor development of events.

CSIRO’s ESA software can acheive the following objectives:

 Detect unexpected or unusual incidents, possible ahead of other communications;

 Condense and summarise messages about an incident maintaining awareness of aggregated content without having to read individual messages;

 Classify and review high-value messages during an incident (e.g. messages describing infrastructure damage or cries for help); understand the impact of an incident on people and infrastructure;

 Identify, track, and manage issues within an incident as they arise, develop and conclude; pro-actively identify and manage issues that may last for hours, days or weeks; and

 Perform analysis of incidents by exploring social media content from before, during and after an incident.

As one example of the benefits, a hospital was recently threatened by a grass fire in Cloncurry in outback Queensland.

With the help of the ESA software, the Queensland Department of Community Safety was alerted of the incident.

ESA gave early notification to crisis coordinators so that they will be able to prepare their response to the fire while waiting for confirmation from official channels.

Evacuation plan was prepared on time and emergency management workers on the ground were given extra time to prepare for action.

ESA made efficient, safe and timely evacuation of hospital staff and patients possible before the fire got out of control.

Aside from early detection of emergencies, ESA is now also being used to explore topics and issues important to the community as well as reputation management.

The CSIRO software sounds like it will be a boon to emergency responders around the World.


Globally Harmonized System 2012

Graham Marshall - Saturday, December 08, 2012

Enclosed here is a link to some important information about the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for identifying and classifying hazardous substances.  The information was passed on to Risk Tool Box by Matthew Pelletier
Director of Public Relations at CS Safety Training.

If you're in the USA, you should care about this as the US is already transitioning to the GHS in 2012.  European countries and many other regions have already done so.

The objective of the GHS is to standardize the classification rules applicable to hazardous substances, and the rules for labels and Safety Data Sheets.

At the Risk Tool Box, we support the GHS and the attempt to standardize the way chemicals are labeled and classified.


SPE Applied Technology Workshop

Graham Marshall - Friday, December 07, 2012

SPE is holding an Applied Technology Workshop (ATW) to address the control of Major Accident Hazards.

The SPE workshop may particularly appeal to people based in SE Asia or Australia because the workshop is being held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
The SPE ATW is scheduled for 17-20 February 2013.

The workshop will explore techniques used to keep in line with regulatory trends and provide attendees with access to expert speakers who will lead discussion on methods and practices in this important area. Some of the topics to be covered are:

+   Learning from incidents;
+   License to operate;
+   Delivering a safe design;
+   Sustainable design and operations;
+   Maintenance and life extensions of ageing facilities; and
+   Decommissioning.

For detailed information on workshop agenda/session topics and online registration, please visit the SPE Web Site.

S.S Mont Blonc Explosion in Halifax, Canada

Graham Marshall - Thursday, December 06, 2012

Today - December 6th, marks the anniversary of the World's most destructive non-nuclear explosion.

It occurred in 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, following the collision of the French munitions ship S.S. Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian cargo vessel S.S. Imo.

The S.S. Imo had stopped in Halifax on its way to New York to take on food supplies for Belgium.

The French cargo ship S.S. Mont-Blanc, fully loaded with munitions, including TNT, picric acid, Benzol and guncotton had arrived from New York the same evening.

The two ships were heading in opposite directions through a section of Halifax harbour known as "The Narrows."

In the Narrows, traffic was allowed to pass in both directions simultaneously.

But the rules for shipping were similar to land-based traffic. 

The ships were expected to keep to the right side of the Narrows as they passed oncoming traffic.

But the S.S Imo entered the Narrows on the left side.

The S.S Mont-Blanc was making its way down the Narrows when the watch crew spotted the Imo approaching in the same lane at a high rate of knots.

In spite of horn alarm blasts from both ships and emergency maneuvers, the collision occurred at 8:45 a.m.

Sparks caused an uncontrollable fire and at Nine a.m. the cargo of the Mont-Blanc exploded with more force than any man made explosion before it.

The force released was equivalent to about three kilotons of TNT destroying the ship and launching the remains of her hull nearly 1,000 feet into the air.

White-hot shards of iron rained down on Halifax and neighboring Dartmouth.

The barrel of one of Mont-Blanc's guns landed three and a half miles to the north while part of her anchor landed two miles to the south.

A cloud of smoke rose 20,000 feet in the air while over 400 acres was completely destroyed by the explosion.

A tsunami rose 60 feet above the harbor's high-water mark, carrying the Imo onto the shore at Dartmouth.

Nearly 2,000 people were killed while 9,000 were injured.

Over 12,000 buildings within a 16 mile radius were destroyed or badly damaged.

The disaster was felt and heard as far away as Prince Edward Island approximately 130 miles north and, North Cape Breton approximately 220 miles east.

Scientists and historians have concluded that the blast in Halifax remains unchallenged in overall magnitude in terms of number of casualties, force of the blast, radius of devastation, quantity of explosive material, and total value of property destroyed.

Safety Alert for Completions Rig Work At Height

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, December 05, 2012

This safety alert from APPEA in Australia highlights how a Floorman went to the derrick monkey board to put a stand of drill pipe in the elevators.

He attached the hold back line but failed to transfer from the crown fall arrestor to the monkey board fall arrestor.

During the operation the blocks were lowered, snagging the secondary line.

This resulted in the Floorman being pulled forward onto his knees parting his lanyard.

Thankfully, no injuries sustained during the incident.

The investigation illustrated that the relevant procedure was not reviewed before task was performed.

The key learnings were identified as being the need to review procedure for the task prior to starting and to ensure procedures are up to date and include installing safety devices.

Australian WHS Strategy 2012-2022

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The new Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 has been published by Safe Work Australia.

The strategy provides a framework to drive improvements in work health and safety and is aimed at governments, work health and safety regulators, industry, unions, and other organizations that influence work health and safety in workplaces across Australia.

The strategy promotes a vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives.

 It sets out four outcomes to be achieved by the year 2022:
 Reduced incidence of work-related death, injury and illness;
 Reduced exposure to hazards and risks;
 Improved hazard controls; and
 Improved work health and safety infrastructure.

The strategy also includes national targets to reduce by at least:
 20 per cent the number of worker fatalities;
 30 per cent the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work; and
 30 per cent the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work.


Woodside Loss of Containment Incident Investigation

Graham Marshall - Monday, December 03, 2012

The importance of good procedural steps which avoid ambiguity in procedural instructions so that the intended impact of each step is fully understood before execution is highlighted in the this incident alert from APPEA.

The incident occurred to a Woodside operator when they were preparing a loading pump for maintenance.

During the process of purging condensate from the pump into the drain vessel using gaseous nitrogen, a mist of condensate of no more than 150L was released to the atmosphere via the atmospheric vent on the drain vessel.

The operator immediately stopped the activity and contained the leak.

There was no injury of personnel or damage to assets caused by the incident.

But the procedure in use instructed the operator to simply “crack open” the nitrogen valve.

Once again, this is an example of an inadequately written procedure which does not clarify the sequence of steps, and the criticality of certain safety aspects of the job.

There is also no apparent "audit" checklist in use at Woodside to confirm the validity of the steps outlined in the procedure.

These are routine aspects which we at the Risk Tool Box build-in when preparing proper procedures for our clients in higher-risk operating environments.

We'd suggest the folks at Woodside and other Australian operators take a good hard look at the way they go about developing procedures to ensure they avoid ambiguity, capture all critical steps, highlight safety critical steps, and provide an audit verification tool and a training tool for the job to be performed.


Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)

Graham Marshall - Sunday, December 02, 2012

Technological advances have allowed energy companies to push the search for oil and gas into ever deeper marine waters.

And as energy companies have expanded the search for oil and gas, long-forgotten hazards have come to pose a new threat to our industry.

Disposed WW I and WW II explosives and munitions pose a significant threat to offshore oil drilling, operations, and pipeline construction.

Thousands of tons of unexploded bombs, shells and chemical and radiological weapons were dumped by various governments from 1946 until the practice was banned in the 1970s.

This Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) has been found in the offshore zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and around the Northern area of Australia above Darwin.

No one really knows exactly how much was dumped, or where the weapons are, or whether they present a danger to humans or marine life.

You can find UXO in almost every ocean around the world, in every major sea and in lots of larger lakes.

As one example, BP was recently forced to shut-down its key Forties crude pipeline in the North Sea for five days while it removed a 4-metre long unexploded German mine found resting alongside the pipeline that transports up to 40 per cent of the UK's North Sea oil production.

BP discovered the mine during a routine pipeline inspection, then spent several months devising a plan to lift the bomb and move it far enough from the pipeline to safely detonate it.

And in In 2001, the wreck of the U-166, a German World War II submarine, was discovered by Shell about 72 kilometers from the mouth of the Mississippi River during an underwater survey for a pipeline needed to transport natural gas to shore.

So for oil companies everywhere, it makes sense to deal with the munitions from a risk mitigation standpoint.

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