The Safety Case concept has been around for many years. They have been used in the nuclear and aviation industry for a long time and were introduced to the Oil & Gas and Petrochemical industries as a result of the Cullen Enquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988. No matter the industry, Safety Cases regimes are designed to help the owner/operator of a facility to show stakeholders that the facility is being managed and operated in such a way that reduces the probability of a major incident and that if a major incident did occur, the effects of that incident will be minimized.
The enquiry into an UK RAF Nimrod accident over Afghanistan in 2006 provided useful guidance on how a Safety Case should be constructed with the acronym ‘SHAPED’:
Succinct: The Safety Case document should provide sufficient information to stakeholders that safety at a facility is being managed effectively. Too much information makes documents difficult to read and can cause significant confusion. Shorter, well-structured reports are generally better.
Home Grown: Involving the workforce is paramount to ensuring the Safety Case is relevant to the facility. This includes involving workers (engineers, operators, etc.) and not just managers in the development of the relevant studies.
Accessible: In order for a Safety Case to be effective, the information in the document itself and any supporting documents/studies, need to be available to the people who need them. This includes shareholders and regulators but also includes those people who implement the systems and procedures.
Proportionate: The time and effort spent producing a safety case should be proportionate with the risks from the facility. A small plant with high fatality potential may need more effort than a very large facility with low fatality potential. The level of detail required should be discussed and agreed with the regulator.
Easy to understand: The report itself should follow a logical structure and only contain pertinent information relevant to the facility. Not all of the readers will understand the technical content so diagrams and pictures can be very useful. In-depth analysis should be avoided unless necessary with references to the detailed studies used instead.
Document-lite: Large bulky documents are difficult to use and will often ‘sit on a shelf’ or be used as door stops. Using the previous advice, the writer will be able to keep the size of the report to a useable size and it should present the safety arguments and the information necessary to operate safely in a way that can be useful to all stakeholders.
The Safety Case should also identify shortfalls in safety management and provide clear and implementable recommendations along with a plan for implementation of the recommendations.
And finally, any major document produced by a company must show that top management within the organisation are fully engaged and are committed to the concept. As such, the Safety Case must be signed by the most senior person at the facility.
This is a summary of presentation by Mike Bates, Principal Consultant, during the Safety Case Symposium 2018 in Singapore.
- View the presentation slides here.
- For more information about the Safety Case Symposium, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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