Author: Ronjit Mukherjee, Project Manager, Risk Alive Analytics
Many companies build comprehensive Safety Critical Equipment (SCE) lists that document all of their important mechanized and automated safeguards/Independent Protection Layers (IPLs). These items are all important and protect facilities from having unsafe days, but the sheer quantity can be overwhelming, even for the best mechanical and asset integrity programs. They also fail to capture the administrative controls which may be considered as risk reducing in PHAs and risk assessments. Now, imagine you’re an auditor coming to site and you have 1,000 items on the SCE list that you’ve been tasked with auditing and confirming effectiveness and functionality for. It’s virtually impossible to complete them all, so how do you prioritize? Where do you start?
Audit fatigue can be a major obstacle, and when going to site to look at safeguards it can be extremely challenging to get the support needed from site personnel. Given they also deal with EPA and OSHA inspections – along with many other internal assessments and audits – it’s no wonder they see audits as a continual stream of interruptions. Considering the potential lack of support and the reams of information that need to be reviewed, it’s really ‘auditor’s luck’ to find the items that require the most attention.
However, what if there was an alternative approach that uses algorithms to determine and analyze safeguard/IPL criticality? This analysis helps focus auditing efforts on the most important items, both equipment related and administrative. In a recent case study, which was completed on an operating gas plant facility, the results showed that more than 37% of the most critical safeguards were found to be out-of-service for a variety of reasons. The out-of-service equipment include those determined to be in the top 15 most critical safeguard list.
Visual tools from the case study are shown to help engage the site resources, who are involved and provide critical support for an effective audit. These audit team members are often ‘voluntold’ to participate and are being pulled from regular duty to assist in the audit effort. Showing them how the audit process is being optimized and why certain pieces of equipment or procedures are being assessed helps them better understand their significance and increases the likelihood that they will be willing collaborators.
With Risk Alive’s® Safeguard Ranking Feature, auditors can eliminate much of the SCE prioritization guesswork and have more time to protect your facility. Knowing if important safeguards are in place and effective, as is normally assumed, is the first step towards operating safely, following RAGAGEP and complying with industry regulation.