Un­der­stand­ing your risks in busi­ness

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - MAINTENANCE MATTERS - CRAIG CAR­LYLE sec­re­tary Main­te­nance Engi­neer­ing So­ci­ety New Zealand www.mesnz.org.nz

The HASAW Act has placed a new set of pres­sures on in­dus­try, but to­tally jus­ti­fied if you look at our ter­ri­ble record. If your com­pany is al­ready op­er­at­ing a com­pli­ant health and safety sys­tem, not too much changes other than an em­pha­sis on iden­ti­fy­ing and man­ag­ing risky pro­ce­dures. If you were walk­ing the walk as well as tak­ing the talk be­fore, you should not have too much to worry about, but if you have spent the last 20 years stead­fastly ig­nor­ing health and safety, the mes­sage could not be clearer: shape up or ship out.

In pass­ing the new HASAW Act, par­lia­ment has ef­fec­tively ti­died up the ex­ist­ing sys­tem (with an in­creased fo­cus on risk), made clearer def­i­ni­tions, closed loop­holes, in­volved ev­ery­body and got se­ri­ous with the penal­ties. Fines now read like tele­phone num­bers and the feed­back from the courts is con­sis­tent; there is no le­niency for not rea­son­ably pre­dict­ing risks.

On top of that, they have cre­ated a whole new Crown Agency ( Work­Safe), who has made huge in­roads in pro­vid­ing a one-stop shop for find­ing the RULES on health and safety.

Un­der­pin­ning the HASAW Act is a set of new reg­u­la­tions, telling you the de­tail of what you MUST do. ( Th­ese are the doc­u­ments you should con­sult when health and safety ru­mours hit your desk). A com­plete new set of guide­lines and codes have been de­vel­oped, all with a cen­tral theme of find­ing pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion paths for in­dus­try.

So, what does this mean at engi­neer­ing, man­age­ment or di­rec­tor level? MESNZ mem­bers have been study­ing the ef­fect and be­lieve there will be some hard lessons to learn for small to medium op­er­a­tions if the study re­sults are any­thing to go by. While the fo­cus at street level is on Job Safety Anal­y­sis (JSA) – the step­wise method­ol­ogy to break risky pro­ce­dures into se­quen­tial steps with the haz­ards ranked and con­trolled at each step, the MESNZ study showed that many op­er­a­tions may be missing the ele­phant in the room; the propen­sity of their plant to suf­fer a cat­a­strophic fail­ure.

While the Pike River in­ves­ti­ga­tion iden­ti­fied over 60 ma­jor hazard sites that are now un­der­go­ing spe­cific hazard re­views, the so­ci­ety opin­ion is there are a vast num­ber of op­er­a­tions that, while the pub­lic dan­ger may not be as large, still pose po­ten­tial risk of catas­tro­phe trace­able to lack of knowl­edge or ac­tion. In th­ese cases, busi­ness own­ers may have no idea that a risk ex­ists, where to start to find out the risk pro­file of their fa­cil­ity, or whether ap­pro­pri­ate man­age­ment is hap­pen­ing. The staff tasked with pro­vid­ing the an­swers may be blind to the anal­y­sis re­quired to sat­isfy the courts.

Put more sim­ply, in the sam­ple group of as­sess­ments con­ducted, the ex­ist­ing engi­neer­ing de­part­ments were quick to claim they were at full com­pli­ance. Yet when tested, th­ese sites did not even have safety crit­i­cal as­sets listed or were work­ing from a flat file anal­y­sis. The bot­tom line was that if truly safety crit­i­cal as­sets are not iden­ti­fied, equip­ment main­te­nance plans are not put into place or man­aged trans­par­ently. On one site, pro­duc­tion ma­chin­ery was well catered for but core util­i­ties such as 11kV trans­form­ers and am­mo­nia net­works were not listed in the as­set reg­is­ter or main­te­nance plan.

A vivid ex­am­ple of what can go wrong was the Tama­here Cool­store fire. Did the direc­tors have the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion in front of them to un­der­stand the risks or re­quired man­age­ment of their plant? In th­ese ex­am­ples, a pro­fes­sional out­side un­blink­ered view is the only way for direc­tors to ar­rive at the cor­rect anal­y­sis and en­sure ap­pro­pri­ate man­age­ment.

Mind­ful of cost bar­ri­ers, MESNZ mem­bers have de­vel­oped a Fa­cil­ity Risk Anal­y­sis (FRA) process to de­liver a sharp cost ef­fec­tive tool to fa­cil­ity own­ers and oper­a­tors. Us­ing As­set Crit­i­cal­ity Anal­y­sis dis­ci­plines, the JRA process in­volves iden­ti­fy­ing and lay­ing out the site (fa­cil­ity) as­sets in proper process flow hi­er­ar­chy be­fore ap­ply­ing a pro­pri­etary soft­ware model to rank the as­sets. Re­sults are de­liv­ered in safety quar­tiles, quickly iden­ti­fy­ing the key as­sets and equip­ment plans for com­par­i­son with what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing on site. Along with ca­pac­ity for JSA train­ing, the so­ci­ety is now con­fi­dent its mem­bers can pro­vide cost ef­fec­tive scal­able so­lu­tions for small to medium busi­ness.

The fi­nal word on “Risk” for peo­ple ow­ing or op­er­at­ing plant is; check the safety crit­i­cal­ity of your plant, (don’t nec­es­sar­ily take your engi­neer­ing de­part­ments word for it) and take the time to con­sider all the nor­mal pro­ce­dures that sur­round the run­ning, clean­ing and main­te­nance of your op­er­a­tion. If in doubt, con­tact MESNZ for fur­ther con­tacts.

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