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Managing risk via the web

09 November 2014

By Stephen Shaw

Getting the right risk management information to the right people at the right time is difficult. Keeping that information current can be a further challenge for oil and gas operators and their contractors.

Information distribution of this kind can be time consuming, costly and ineffective. Everything from engaging the frontline workforce to coping with ever-changing regulations and corporate requirements must be addressed and actioned. This is difficult for a single facility but when a company has to manage a portfolio of assets it can become unworkable. Traditionally this has involved a time consuming paper chase.

Digital options
Anyone who has had to search for a missing document or try to understand what they need to know for a particular task, almost certainly knows that paper-based process safety information can be difficult to access, optimize and manage. How, for example do you ensure that updates to a corporate HSE case are distributed within a given timescale to relevant people in the company – and seen by them?

Increasingly, ERM clients are looking at digital and web-based options for distributing, accessing, storing and presenting risk management information. This can range from standard file sharing via an internal system, to something more tailored; a priority being to ensure that those who need up to date information have access to it in a form that allows them to understand and make use of that information.

ERM’s response to this need is the iSafetyCase system, a web-based delivery tool which was originally developed for HSE cases but which can be utilized to support other process safety requirements. We are currently using this system to support a leading drilling contractor whose priority is to ensure that its HSE cases are of value to frontline staff, remain up to date and are relevant to changing process safety requirements, wherever its vessels are operating.

A living HSE case
In essence iSafetyCase is a powerful database which turns the HSE case into a “living” website. The structure of the information, together with the look and feel of the website, can be modified to meet any company’s particular needs. Changes to corporate-wide information need only be updated in one location before they are reflected in all individual HSE cases. The tool has the flexibility to allow information and associated changes to be linked to a defined group of HSE cases.

The system’s login credentials help to protect corporate security and determine the extent of individual access, from just their own asset to the entire fleet. The ease of access makes it possible for a greater proportion of the workforce to obtain critical information, such as a live hazard register, key safeguards and performance standards. Personnel can also make comments directly on the website, enabling the information owners to respond to queries, proposed changes and suggested improvements in real time. To preserve the integrity of the information, ‘live’ and ‘working’ versions are maintained for each facility, allowing formal review and approval processes before information is disseminated.

Although ERM can support clients through the setup, maintenance and administration of the iSafetyCase websites, the ownership of the risk management program remains with the corporate user. With the elimination of much bureaucracy, the better engagement of their workforce and the ability to be more agile in distributing information, key leaders can better focus on the objective of making their facilities safe.

Access to relevant information
Navigating iSafetyCase is helped by the fact that documents are hyperlinked together. The iSafetyCase search engine helps to identify document titles covering everything from specialist equipment and their associated procedures to bowtie diagrams, critical safeguards and their performance standards. Once the specific information has been loaded, the system makes it easy for the user to find it.

The system allows information to be updated centrally and made available to different user groups as they need it. This could apply for example when a drilling rig is being moved to a different geography and relevant regulatory information needs to be included. The tool not only allows new information to be uploaded quickly and distributed to the vessel concerned, but it can also help a vessel demonstrate to the relevant authorities that it is in compliance.  

Improving functionality
Whatever the priorities of the corporate or individual user, the iSafetyCase system provides ready access to relevant and up to date process safety information. The upshot for ERM clients, we believe, can make a substantial contribution to reducing the risk of a major accident.

Stephen Shaw is a Partner and leads ERM Global Risk in the Americas. To request an iSafetyCase demo contact smailto:stephen.shaw@erm.com or laura.garcia@erm.com.

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