Process and asset safety are important business processes in industries such as mining, oil & gas, and other natural resources. Traditionally Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) operations within these industries rely upon review of processes, tool talks, training, and other process-led mechanisms to manage safety. While there is an array of technologies - ranging from sensors, SCADA systems, plant monitoring systems - but it is only in the last couple of years that companies have started to invest in systems that can generate insight on safety performance and process safety readiness.
The Texas refinery incident in the US in March 2005 was a wakeup call to the Oil and Gas industry because it questioned the sense of managing status quo. Since the current systems in place largely track historical KPI indicators via lagging indicators such as DART (Days Away/Restricted or Transfer Rate), production loss, work stoppage etc., a new mode of managing safety based on a term "Proactive or Predictive Risk Management" is needed. For this, companies have to list the contributing factors that lead to injuries, fatalities, work stoppage, spills and releases and create a new set of KPIs called leading indicators. Instead of doing root cause analysis on "What went wrong", studies now recommend that companies measure contributing factors that lead to lesser safety or more accidents.
A next generation HSE risk management system can consist of a process and system that can manage insights into competence, process safety, environmental safety, occupational safety risks on a continuous basis, so as to reduce risk as part of ongoing operations. With growing use of advanced analytics, a HSE risk management solution should also be capable of incorporating statistical and analytical abilities into the information that it processes. To begin the journey into a next-generation risk management process, enterprises have to understand their maturity in IT, Process, Technology and Data to move forward on implementing a next-generation risk management system. As a next step, enterprises should develop a roadmap for achieving maturity in HSE risk management. The assessment of maturity can begin with the following areas:
- Identifying the status-quo
- Defining the To-Be
- Identifying the Challenges
- Identifying the Opportunities
Within every process or sub-process in a risk intensive industry, there are multiple levels of safety performance indicators. A study done by the International Oil & Gas producers recommends a 4–tier KPI approach.
While implementing a risk management system, it is important to capture the interdependence between risks, and how they are correlated. So, an enterprise risk management solution needs modules that allow a risk manager to setup measurements that can highlight the relationship and dependence between leading indicators, and risk variables. This can help HSE risk managers manage their risk portfolio, and control risks within a reasonable boundary.
Can you think of other ways of adding intelligence to the Health and Safety operations in the mining and Oil and Gas industry? I would be happy to hear your thoughts.