The objective of a safety case is to demonstrate that the facility is designed, constructed, operated and maintained in a safe manner and is largely required for facilities that contain significant hazards as defined by legislative requirements.
It documents significant hazards and demonstrates the adequacy of the barriers and management systems that prevent the hazard from becoming a significant risk and hence is a significant piece of its process safety framework.
Safety cases have been used in the process industries worldwide for the past 40 years. The origins of Safety Case development followed the Flixborough chemical plant disaster in 1974. In 1988, following the Piper Alpha incident in the North Sea, Safety Cases were mandated in the UK. Since then, a number of countries have adopted this regulatory regime.
A Safety Case contains 4 main components:
- The facility description – scope of operation, design philosophy, physical aspects, activities on the facility, surrounding activities, types and numbers of people present, mitigation systems
- Summary of the formal safety assessment – A systematic risk assessment of major accident hazards (MAH) on the facility. This involves the identification of the MAHs, risk assessment that aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of the systems and barriers in place to manage the hazards are adequate.
- Summary of the Safety Management System (SMS) – A summary of the safety management system and performance verification systems in place that ensure the facility is managing its MAHs adequately.
- Committed Actions: Where risk gaps have been identified the actions to close these gaps must be documented before safety case submission. This may involve the evaluation of different solutions to improve the risk management of specific scenario’s.
Although a safety case contains a description of the SMS, it is subordinate to the SMS. The SMS is the fundamental basis for ensuring safety at the facility.
Safety Case Services:
Safety Case Fitness Evaluation – To operate under a safety case regime, an organisation must have effective process safety management in place. Safety Solutions offer’s our popular process safety audits to benchmark a site/ organisation and make recommendations to close their gaps.
Safety Case Scouting Study – identification of documentation, studies and management systems in place that can meet the requirements within legislation. Gaps, resource requirements and a project plan are also documented as part of the scouting study.
Safety Case Execution – A safety case can be executed via a blend of internal resource and external resource depending on availability and capability.
Safety Case Auditing – After submission of the safety case, and organisation can be audited by the regulator to assess if they are operating to their documented safety case. Safety Solutions can perform a safety case audit for internal purposes to pre-identify gaps in their operation vs their safety case.
As an additional option to (2), a Process Safety Audit can be done on the facility identifying process safety gaps with best practice and provide the operator with recommendations to close them.