Safe and secure operations of a facility are of paramount importance for the protection of personnel, the environment, asset and the reputation of the operators.
The growing expectation at present is that organizations must be able to at least document, demonstrate and implement good safety practices and procedures at all levels. In addition, the greater levels of awareness amongst health and safety authorities have led to the development of more stringent requirements, all which have to be complied with. DEKRA combines strong practical knowledge on safety and health with a comprehensive understanding of the relevant legislation and industry accepted standards and practices to provide clients with effective and economical solutions to raise health and safety assessment levels.
DEKRA's approach to health and safety issues is typically categorized into hardware elements (e.g. design, equipment, etc.) and software elements (e.g. maintenance, emergency response, behaviour based safety, training, etc.). Both approaches are crucial and complementary to ensure comprehensiveness and thoroughness in assessing the health and safety levels at a facility.
Safety Assessment Systems (SMS)
During the design stage of a facility, adequate safety and health assessment levels are established through good engineering practices, adherence to engineering codes and standards and experience and professional judgement. However, upon construction and commissioning of a facility, there is the potential for these levels to decay over time. Safety assessment Systems (SMS) are therefore established to ensure that the level of safety and health is kept consistently at, or beyond, the desired levels throughout the lifecycle of the facility. DEKRA's capability in this field ranges from brief reviews of existing SMS to full development and implementation of SMS for an organization.
Safety and Health Audits
During the design stage of a facility, adequate safety and health assessment levels are established through good engineering practices, adherence to engineering codes and standards and experience and professional judgement. However, upon construction and commissioning of a facility, there is the potential for these levels to decay over time. In order to sustain and improve upon these levels, therefore, audits are commonly performed to identify shortfalls and gaps at the facility. With this objective in mind, DEKRA is able to provide experienced professionals to conduct audits to identify and improve safety and health levels. This ultimately results in greater productivity and efficiency with less potential for costly repairs.
Interface between Operators Practising Different SMS Standards
Installation, hook-up and other similar activities often require the contribution and participation of multiple contractors either simultaneously or at different intervals of each other. This then could precipitate to inconsistent and divergent levels of safety standards as each contractor may not necessarily subscribe to the owner-operator's safety standard. By pursuing an interfacing exercise, DEKRA is able to bridge the divide and provide consistency and clarity in safety standards across all work activities among all appointed contractors. This helps to eliminate gaps and shortfalls in the safety standards of appointed contractors as well as provide a common reference safety standard for all activities for a given project. Such consistency often translates to reduced "down time" and Lost Time Injury (LTI), and greater efficiency.
Development of HSE (Safety) Case
The tragic losses incurred at the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988 provided the initial momentum for the formulation of Offshore Safety Cases in the UK. Since then, HSE Cases have become an industry standard and for many countries a legislation for identifying potential hazards and evaluating the adequacy of a facility's safety systems to control and mitigate these hazards. These "cases", therefore, provide a basis for arguing for or against offshore developments and, by highlighting the inadequacies, aid the refinement of the engineering design process. The onshore equivalent of this is the Control of Industrial Major Accident Hazards (CIMAH) Report which has since been revised and improved upon to Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Reports. Having completed numerous HSE (Safety) Cases and CIMAH Reports, DEKRA has considerable capability and experience for the execution and delivery of these assignments.
Hot and Toxic Gas Dispersion
Many process facilities produce hot and/or toxic gaseous emissions which are released freely into the atmosphere. The potential therefore exists for such emissions to impact neighbouring receptors such as personnel, air intake points, etc. Dispersion studies therefore are undertaken to assess these impacts and put forward suitable recommendations to minimise such impacts. DEKRA's key capability in this area is not only to undertake simulation of these emissions but to also analyse and interpret the results. These then provide a sound basis for validating a proposed design or justifying modifications to an existing facility.
In order to alleviate emergency conditions, hydrocarbon processing facilities commonly include the provision of a flare into the design. However, the excessive radiation levels from the flare could lead to personnel and assets being susceptible to impact. In order to assess this, flare radiation studies are performed to predict the thermal intensities arising from the flare. These results provide an important basis in ensuring that the design of the flare is fit for purpose and does not expose any personnel or assets to excessive thermal radiation.
Prolonged exposure to excessive noise levels has been shown to cause various ill-effects ranging from the inability to be productive at work due to a loss of concentration to complete loss of hearing. In order to avoid such impacts from being realised, noise abatement studies are undertaken to identify the required mitigation to protect personnel from such exposures. DEKRA's noise prediction model is able to simulate the propagation of noise and illustrate these results in the form of noise contours. Drawing of these results, suitable recommendations such as hearing protection, noise enclosures, etc. can then be proposed and incorporated into the design of the facility.
Acoustically Induced Vibration (AIV)
The movement of fluids through an enclosed space or opening often leads to the generation of noise (i.e. noise energy) within the closed system which is further translated into vibration, hence the term acoustically induced vibration or AIV. Since standard design codes and standards do not provide an effective means of assessing the capability for such vibration, AIV is often neglected thereby subjecting the system to possible structural failure. DEKRA's AIV programme calculates the acoustic energy within a system which can then be assessed against industry criteria as necessary and suitable recommendations proposed as required. This eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming repairs which may be necessitated by failure of the system due to unmitigated AIV.
Health Risk Assessment (HRA)
With the advent of a growing number of hazardous chemicals and processes, significant concerns have been raised with respect to the health and safety of exposed personnel. The HRA is an effective tool that enables the potential hazards to be identified and recognised so as to ascertain the potential risks to personnel in an effort to reduce the exposure potential. DEKRA's approach in HRA is to document the various aspects and characteristics of the workplace associated with a certain job or task and to use this information as a basis for analyzing and prioritizing actions to address occupational health and safety risks.
Emergency Response Planning (ERP)
A key component in safety assessment is preparedness and anticipation for any untoward situation or circumstance. The ERP then serves as a vehicle to address the level of preparedness and anticipation in light of possible emergency scenarios. Through an extensive examination of the processes, materials and systems at a facility, DEKRA can explore the various emergency scenarios and establish the required actions. The ERP will therefore articulate specific responsibilities and action needed under various emergencies. A comprehensive and detailed ERP demonstrates the capability of a facility to adequately anticipate and respond to emergencies thereby enhancing the reputation and integrity of the organization.
The progressiveness and dynamism of organizations today often result in changes at different levels, e.g. safety standards, design codes, SMS, etc. Although such changes are often envisioned to bring about greater benefit and efficiency, the progression towards this goal is often encumbered by various factors such as a lack of commitment, scepticism, apathy, etc. With respect to this, DEKRA provides specialist assessment to address these issues and bring about greater synergism in the assessment of change. This ultimately results in a common focus and vision, proactive planning and enhanced efficiency.
Verification of Engineering Design
Engineering design of a facility is often dictated by compliance to appropriate reference codes and standards as well as professional judgement. In this regard, DEKRA provides third party verification and validation of a proposed engineering design. By reviewing a design against the relevant codes and standards as an independent party, the design is subjected to greater scrutiny thereby further reducing the possibility of inherent errors in the proposed design.
Fire Detection & Protection
DEKRA provides guidance in the selection of fire detection & protection systems using Fire Risk Analysis (FRA) to evaluate and quantify the effects and consequences of fire and the relative benefit in installing differing levels of fire protection facilities.