5 ways to improve risk management & health and safety in the petrochemical industry

By marketing@airsweb.com

February 27, 2015

The petrochemical industry more than most other industries can feel the affect of poor health and safety heavily. In any organisation, Judith Elizabeth Hackitt, CBE, Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive FREng explains that “good health and safety is good for business… irrespective of size.” [1] She goes on to explain that when major hazards industries, such as the petrochemical industry, supply products that are crucial to the running of the general public’s everyday lives, reputations can be shattered in a matter of moments, the disruption spreads far and wide and most importantly, lives can be lost.

Corrosion and change happens from the moment a plant is commissioned, with many plants outliving their design in a matter of a few decades. Time is therefore crucial in this industry. Problems must be identified as soon as possible and solutions implemented quickly. So, with this in mind, here at Airsweb we have put together a few points to consider to ensure your business within the chemical and petrochemical industry runs smoothly and safely.

Better reporting

Adaption, that’s the key to a successful reporting module. Rather than relying on out-dated systems and continuing old ways even after your company changes, instead harness new technologies. Reporting technologies have evolved alongside report requirements and legislations, put in place to constantly improve processes within the petrochemical industry, with the overarching aim to improve safety. A report on the safety case use in the petrochemical industry suggested “The evolution of the safety report requirements in the UK has not been without difficulty.” [2] this only adds to the importance of using reporting technology that is ahead of the times. When so much data is needing to be consolidated, a robust system is a must have in order to structure and combine all information into an understandable form and therefore identify and act upon opportunities.

Change the culture

The traditional approach to risk management in the petrochemical industry has been to leave it in the hands of those higher up within companies. This culture needs to be altered to involve all employees within the management and identification of risks in their working environment. [3] This change in methodology would see a greater overview of all levels of any organisation. One study comparing companies in the petrochemical industry said, “The culture of safety is an important management tool in checking the faiths, the attitudes, and behaviour of the employees regarding safety.”[4] A positive safety culture enables all members of staff to understand the risks involved in their workplace and therefore gain a greater understanding of the methods of protection.

Apply risk management principles

Innovation is a must when talking about risk management principles. This applies in particular to the petrochemical industry where technology and new developments are seeing the industry change regularly. This could mean applying risk management principles to the clean up process when dealing with hazardous waste or even environmental excursions, always adapting the methods and processes.

Learn from previous incidents

When accidents occur in the petrochemical industry they can be extremely hazardous to both the workers and the general public. Within a report from HSE Chemical and Hazardous Installations Division, [5] it was suggested that companies may be unaware of the cause of accidents and therefore not working to reduce the risk of these incidents reoccurring. Through increased reporting, more in depth data can be gathered meaning if an incident is to occur, then a wealth of valuable and reliable data will be available to further investigate the root cause. This then leads to learning from each incident, adapting to provide better protection.

Be more mobile

The petrochemical industry in particular would see benefit in a system that is accessible from anywhere, whether offshore or at a remote base. With the advancements of mobile devices, the need for health and safety systems to be accessible via a tablet or smart phone is bigger than ever. By becoming more mobile, the petrochemical industry can save time for assessors to carry out and delegate actions. It also allows for more accurate and more up to date recording.

Through discovering how your business is behaving in regards to health and safety, you can gain a greater understanding of the immediate and potential risks, especially within the petrochemical industry where sites can be vast and remote.

‘Your Software Partner in QHSE’

With Airsweb we understand that not only is every industry different, but each company is unique too, which is why we tailor our services to you. Our solutions give you robust, usable, live reporting that can be accessed from anywhere including mobile devices. Our software allows you to report incidents, events and more importantly log and delegate actions in order to implement solutions quickly and ensure the safety of your workforce and the reputation of your business.

If your company would benefit from more in-depth, robust and easy to use reporting software solutions then click HERE. Alternatively, call us on 0151 289 6811 or email info@airsweb.com to talk about your business and find out exactly what we can do for you.

Lee Davies

Sources:

[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/speeches/transcripts/hackitt301012.htm

[3] http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/speeches/transcripts/hackitt301012.htm

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4147215/

[5] http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/lossprev.pdf

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