Why immediate savings impair plant safety?

We can construct an optimal plant integrity management strategy. It will comply with your specific budget goals safely. Sounds too good? It will involve a step change in integrity data assessment methods.

a picture of clamped wallet Mentioning ‘safety‘, what comes into the mind of plant workers? PPE, JHA, KPI and more well recognized abbreviations. What is the prominent message from a typical safety induction session? ‘If you don’t commit unsafe actions in workplace, you will be fine out there!’ Workers well remember such messages, safety. They follow the rules, but the clock is ticking. Because those procedural health and safety measures in place are just one side of the medal. The other side of the medal is the equipment technical integrity condition – a more sophisticated issue, which largely defines the risk environment where workers and procedures are operating. Equipment failures can easily cancel all the safety efforts made on the procedural side. How do we prevent these failures effectively? By conducting technical risk assessments at all life stages of the plant, and effectively, by managing the change of our knowledge of that risk – via applying risk controls. Not surprisingly, the risk controls have their own costs – sometimes high costs due to the periodic shutdown requirement. As we are all aware, the budgetary pressure continues to build up. Unfortunately, a trivial solution to the cost savings problem became quite popular: ‘Just save that budget!’ That may affect the whole business future.  Equipment failures can: stop plant production, breach contractual obligations, and in turn, trigger even more savings motives… Continue the loop. Such is the role of managing the equipment technical integrity. For an optimal management, we need to upgrade from awareness of hazards (qualified risks) to the knowledge of risks (quantified hazards). But this is rather not the case if we use traditional risk and integrity assessment methods. Latest revisions of inspection standards (API-581, API-570 and so on) still use the same flawed concept of ‘deterministic remnant life’. Hence, the budget savings motive triggers the requirement to upgrade the integrity assessment apparatus towards quantitative but still robust risk estimates made in realistic terms or safety and cost exposure. The latter are in fact driven by equipment failure probability functions versus time, as opposed to the simplistic but virtual ‘remnant life’ estimates. To conclude:

  • The immediate savings trend leads us to a deterioration of workers safety, and even of business sustainability.
  • To combat this trend, we need a wise decision making, a well informed and realistic decision making, in comparison to older conventional practices.
  • An ultimate safety compliance can be achieved practically, which is actually in the best interest of plant owners and operators, not just a formal action. Because the degree of compliance is proportional to the success of the risk management process. More in this post.
  • If we mange equipment failure risks not formally, but effectively – down to numeric limits, then we automatically safeguard the business sustainability. Because we minimize the potential of sudden failures accordingly.
  • The transition to numeric risks also offers a framework for a cost/benefit analysis of risk control options.
  • In this way, all elements of the integrity budget optimization puzzle are brought together in their correct positions. Because the root problem – technical integrity monitoring and control – is addressed genuinely and realistically.

image of puzze missing central element To learn more about CoRBI® you can watch YouTube videos at our main page of simply flick us a message via the contact form. Does it sound as a modern philosophy for a winning integrity management? Feels like too hard and expensive to accomplish? Many tried? Unnecessary? Not a priority? Let us know your constraints.  


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