With almost 10 years of experience in preparing Safety Cases for client, we’ve come across various assumptions of what a Safety Case is and the purpose it serves. In this article, we list out some of the more popular myths and help you debunk them.
1. A Safety Case is a case study for every past safety-related incident.
No. A Safety Case is in fact a tool that helps companies to bring risks from the world of unknown to the world of known!
In summary, a Safety Case is a document produced by the operator of a facility to demonstrate that an operation or facility is safe to operate, which helps to:
- Identify the hazards and risks;
- Describe how the risks are controlled;
- Describe the Safety Management System (SMS) in place to ensure the controls are effectively and consistently applied.
NRG Engineering’s safety consultants have prepared many of such Safety Cases to meet the above-mentioned objectives and to describe the facility and the way in which the facility operates. It also demonstrates that all identified hazards, their potential effects and risks to life have been rigorously and systematically identified, and that Design and Operational performance criteria for all identified Safety Critical Elements (SCEs) have been established.
2. We need extensive documentation to come up with the Safety Case.
Regulators from United Kingdom and Australia have set in place the requirement to develop a formal Safety Case in the Oil & Gas industry for several years now. Still, after years of speaking to industry practitioners, we have noticed a similar trend across decision-makers; that the Safety Case is a hassle – having to implement it requires creating a handful of complicated documents that nobody is familiar with.
That, however, is not the case. Majority of Oil & Gas players will have the basic safety fencing covered, and the information that is already set in place is a great starting point to develop the Safety Case – there is no need to go back to the drawing board and start from ground zero. Here are some of the things companies can use:
- Formal Safety Assessments
- Qualitative Risk Assessment
- Risk Registers
3. Only the management representatives need to sit in to prepare the Safety Case.
Not at all. In fact, it is more important for hands-on personnel such as design engineers, procurement managers, operators and safety supervisors to be involved in the process of preparing the Safety Case for they are the ones who are aware of the facility as a whole.
It is recommended that everyone involved in the day-to-day operations have an input on the Safety Case to create a concise document that is relevant to the facility described.
4. The Safety Case is guaranteed to prevent incidents.
Although this would be every safety practitioners dream, nothing, not even a Safety Case is a hundred percent guarantee of preventing incidents. What the Safety Case can do is:
- Protect lives: The Safety Case is a thorough document on how to operate the facility in the safest manner possible. Therefore, it minimises the chances of major accidents that helps to in turn, save the personnel working on the facility from harm.
- Manage business assets: While human related accident can be minimised with the help of safety regulations, ways to conduct operation processes safely are also described in the Safety Case in hopes to protect business assets from damage.
- Maintain Competency: The combination of ensuring lives are protected and assets are taken care of will help to reduce lost production for the facility. In addition, the Safety Case acts as a standard guide for safe operations and allows operators to maintain competency across the board.
5. Once the Safety Case is completed, I can file it in my archives.
Do not allow the Safety Case to sit on a shelf that is locked away or hidden in one obscure corner of the office – it has to be read and understood by relevant personnel – awareness of the Safety Case isn’t enough, the organisation has to live and swear by it.
Other ways NRG can step in to help keep your Safety Case relevant:
- Conducting 5-Yearly Review: Looking through your document every five years to keep it updated and in accordance to any new regulations brought into the market;
- Conducting Safety Case Trainings: Briefing technical and non-technical staff on the importance on the Safety Case and how they can leverage on it for their everyday work. (See: Safety Case Training for FPSO Ventures)
Clearly, there’s more to the Safety Case than meets the eye. Get in touch with our consultants to find out how the Safety Case can help improve the safety standards of your facility.