The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Would you walk into a pool of gasolene?

Graham Marshall - Friday, June 29, 2012

How would you react if you observed a large pool of petrol escaping from a Petrol Tanker Truck?

The footage below shows an example of several people putting themselves in harms way by walking into a pool of gasolene pouring from a tanker.  A cyclist even rides through the middle of the spill.

The video was used by the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) in a recent successful prosecution of a fuel terminal operator.

The footage shows - in stark form - how people can react when called upon to manage a known serious hazard event.  In this case - amazingly badly!

To view the footage, simple click here.  You'll be amazed!

Testing Portable Electrical Appliances

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 28, 2012

Misleading advertising from dishonest companies offering electrical appliance testing are costing UK businesses an estimated thirty million GB pounds each year.

And the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) is keen to point out that it’s a myth that every portable electrical appliance in the workplace needs to be tested once a year.

The law in the UK merely requires an employer to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger.

The law does not state that each electrical item has to be tested or how often testing needs to be carried out.

New information from the UK HSE says that in low-risk environments, such as offices, shops and hotels, most defects can be found by the employer simply by checking the appliances for obvious signs of damage.

In response to the problem of rogue testing, the UK HSE Chairwomen - Judith Hackitt - has released new and revised guidance on portable appliance testing.

The recommendations are one of the results from the government-backed report on health and safety by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt (Reclaiming Health and Safety for All) to further clarify the requirement for portable appliance testing in order to stop over-compliance.

The revised HSE guidance can be found here.


European's Agree on Seveso III Directive

Graham Marshall - Sunday, May 06, 2012

On 1st June 2015, further stringent requirements will be applied to UK and European companies classified ‘SEVESO’ in order to prevent and control accidents involving hazardous substances.

The Seveso III Directive will apply to around 10,000 establishments in the Uk and the rest of the EU.  Its main objectives will be:

+   Defining the hazardous substances falling within the scope of the directive;

+   Align which hazardous substances are included/excluded, that do/do not present a major-accident hazard;

+   Strengthen provisions about access to information, participation in decision-making and access to justice;

+   Improve the way information is collected, managed, made available and shared; and

+   Introduce stricter standards for inspections to ensure  implementation and enforcement of safety rules.

To read the EU Press release regarding the implementation of the Seveso III Directive, simply click here.


Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR)

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) came into force on 9 December 2002 and implement the Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX 137) Directive and safety requirements of the Chemical Agents Directive (CAD).

DSEAR are concerned with preventing or limiting the harmful effects of fires, explosions and similar energy-releasing events.

The DSEA Regulations are goal-setting regulations and they replaced much specific legislation on flammable and explosive substances.

They are supported by a set of Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (ACoPs) reflecting good practices in controlling risk associated with management of hazardous substances.

The DSEA Regulations apply whenever the following conditions have been satisfied:

•   There is work being carried out by an employer or self-employed person;

•   A dangerous substance is present or is liable to be present at the workplace;

•   Tthe dangerous substance presents a risk to the safety of persons (as opposed to a risk to health).

The main requirements of these Regulations are that employers and the self employed must:

•   Carry out a risk assessment of any work activities involving dangerous substances;

•   Provide technical and organisational measures to eliminate or reduce the identified risks as to ALARP;

•   Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies; and

•   Provide information and training to employees.

Enclosed here is a document providing advice to inspectors on the interpretation and enforcement of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations.

Process Safety Presentation

Graham Marshall - Monday, April 02, 2012

In high-reliability organizations, process safety is everyone's business.

However, safety managers and engineers often have a much better understanding of its importance and how it is affected by strategic management decisions than the top-level managers and directors making these decisions.

It is therefore up to engineers at all levels to educate their bosses.

This online presentation, by the Health and Safety Executive's Ian Travers - a leading expert on chemical industry safety - shows how management decisions impact major hazard risks - and shares practical strategies on getting the message across to senior management.

Sustainable business success rests on safe operation - and the process of getting that right starts in the boardroom.

Make sure those in the boardroom understand the importance and impact of their decisions.

To access the PowerPoint slideshow, simply click here.



Major Accident Failure Rates Project

Graham Marshall - Monday, March 26, 2012

The major accident failure rates project is a joint venture between the UK and the Netherlands to address the feasibility of updating generic failure rates used in risk assessment for major hazard chemical plants.

The approach addresses the two essential parts of a failure rate:

1.   Accidents where there has been a loss of containment of a hazardous chemical; and

2.   The plant containment population from which the accidents originated.

The key parties working together are the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) in the UK and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands, coordinated by White Queen Safety Strategies.

The key stakeholders in the project are the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) in the Netherlands.

While the ultimate aim of the project is to provide the foundation for developing failure rates there are other reasons for its inception, particularly concerns about major accident analysis and causation sharing that have arisen after the Buncefield and Texas City accidents.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

To access the report,simply click here.


Energy Isolation Guideline

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Failures during the isolation and reinstatement of process plant are one of the main causes of loss-of-containment incidents which lead to spills, fires and explosions resulting in damage, death and destruction.

Therefore, very high standards of isolation and rigorous management control are required for plant isolation and reinstatement, particularly in Major Accident Hazard industries.

In order to promote higher standards of control, I'm posting a link to this publication from the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) which provides excellent advice on the general principles for safe process isolations.

The document explains how to isolate plant and equipment safely; and how to reduce the risk of releasing hazardous substances during intrusive activities such as routine maintenance, sampling operations and shut-downs.

The guideline illustrates a method for selecting ‘baseline’ process isolation standards and outlines the typical prevention and escalation control measures which are needed to manage isolation failures.

The UK HSE suggests that the document  is intended for use as a reference to assist duty holders to develop, review and enhance their own isolation standards and procedures.

The guidance applies to the following industries:

+   The onshore and offshore oil and gas industry;

+   Chemical manufacturing; and

+   Pipelines associated with these industries.

It also has general application to all industries where process isolations are made, and applies to mobile offshore drilling units and onshore drilling units as well.

To access this excellent guideline document, simply click here.

Vapour Cloud Formation - Lessons from Buncefield Terminal Fire

Graham Marshall - Friday, March 09, 2012

Since the fire at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot occurred in 2005, the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) has sponsored a programme of experimental and modeling research to investigate the technical issues involved in the Buncefield incident and to develop methods of analysis for the overfilling of a tank with a volatile liquid.

The objective of the research is to enable  the UK HSE and industry to reach agreement on a reliable method to determine the characteristics of any vapour cloud generated in the event of an vessel overfill.

This will allow appropriate consideration of the overfill scenario, including information on fluid type, tank size, and fill rate to be taken into account in hazard assessments for land use planning and emergency planning purposes.

The research report has now been published and is available by clicking here (note - it is 4.5 MB so may take a few moments to upload).


Court Case Highlights Confined Space Risk

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The risk involved in  confined space entry work has again been highlighted by a court case in Scotland ruling on the unfortunate deaths of two men on a fish farm barge in Argyll.

Maarten Pieter Den Heijer, 30, and 45-year-old Robert MacDonald died on Loch Creran, near Oban, whilst working for Scottish Sea Farms and an engineering company called Logan Inglis.

In the court case held in February 2012, Scottish Sea Farms was fined £333,335 and Logan Inglis was fined £20,000 over the two men's deaths.

The court heard how Scottish Sea Farms worker Campbell Files and engineer Arthur Raikes - employed by Logan Inglis - were fixing a hydraulic crane on the barge when they went below deck to find cabling and pipework.

The oxygen levels below deck were very low and Mr Files passed out while Mr Raikes managed to climb back out.

In an attempt to rescue Mr Files, his Scottish Sea Farms colleagues Mr Den Heijer and Mr MacDonald entered the small chamber below deck but lost consciousness almost immediately.

The three men needed to be rescued by emergency services but only Mr Files recovered.

Following the incident on 11 May 2009, inspectors from the UK HSE discovered Scottish Sea Farms had failed to suitably prepare staff for working in the small, sealed chambers on the Loch Creran barge.

Logan Inglis was also found to have failed in its duties to staff in terms of information provided and training.

Neither company had identified the risk to their respective employees from working in the confined spaces.

Both firms pleaded guilty to breaches of safety rules.

The court heard that both firms had good records on health and safety matters.

Scottish Sea Farms was said to have an annual turnover of almost £94 million. For Logan Inglis the figure was more than £2.7 million.

The appeal judges were told the engineers had been hit by the economic downturn and that if the fine was too heavy it could lead to redundancies.

Loss of Containment Manual

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The UK HSE has revised and released a new version of its Loss of Containment Manual (2012) for use in the offshore hydrocarbon industry.

The new document provides additional advice on ten important elements of process integrity, relating to the management of the integrity of the process containment envelope and provides advice on topics for inspection within each of the elements.

It should help the offshore oil and gas industry to further reduce the number of offshore hydrocarbon releases.

The original version of the document focused on the effective management and maintenance of safety critical elements.

In developing the new manual, the main causes of major and significant releases between 2001 and 2007 were identified from the UKs Hydrocarbon Releases Database.

Information was obtained on systems, equipment types, equipment causes, operational causes, procedural causes and operational mode.

The key issues and underlying causes relating to hydrocarbon releases are summarized below:

•  Evidence suggests that piping systems, including flanges and valves collectively continue to be a major source of Hydro Carbon Releases (HCRs); with piping being the single largest contributor. Instruments (i.e. Small Bore Tubing (SBTs)) contribute the second largest single source of HCRs. Gas Compression is the operating system having the highest number of HCRs;

•  Incorrectly fitted equipment is the most widespread operational cause followed by improper operation (i.e. human factor issues) where operational failures are reported;

•  Non-compliance with procedure (i.e. human factors issue) is the most common procedural cause where procedural failures are reported; and

•  Reported experience of inspection and survey on SBT systems suggests that 26% of fittings examined are found to contain faults, e.g. under-tightness, incorrect or mismatched components, leaks, incorrect or poor installation, etc., and that this failure rate has remained constant from 2001 to 2007.

To access a copy of the Loss of Containment Manual, simply click here.  If you find this blog useful, please consider leaving us a comment using the "comments" box below.

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