How to Prepare for Incidents with EHS Management Software
Earlier this week, seven people were hospitalized after an explosion at what was believed to at first have been an oil rig, later discovered as a natural gas storage platform in Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. One remains missing.
As stated in the NBC News article, four of the seven people injured in the explosion were released from hospitals on Monday, October 16th. Rescue workers were able to make it onto the smoldering rig and shut off the main gas line.
The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, officials say. In the aftermath, they said they “suspect it was touched off after cleaning chemicals on the platform ignited during some kind of maintenance work.”
While emergency situations often occur unexpectedly, there are methods that can be put in place to lower the risk of an event’s occurrence.
EHS Management software can help to spot underlying issues by allowing companies to review data holistically and pinpoint nonconformances and the origins of safety and quality issues.
Environmental management provides operational tools to help manage multi-media programs such as air, waste, water, emergency planning and right-to-know. From there, it allows users to create simple and complex equations for calculating emissions, discharges and waste generation for disposal or treatment.
Tools like the Risk Matrix quantify the likelihood and severity of events, also uncovering which processes need the most attention. Bowtie Analysis on the other hand helps identify preventive and response controls for high impact, low probability events like chemical explosions.
The Bowtie Risk Model addresses both the controls needed to prevent an undesired state, as well as how to mitigate the consequence if controls fail and the event occurs.
Key elements include:
- A specific hazard: something that creates risk in your organization
- The top event: the specific state you’re trying to avoid, typically involving a loss of control
- Threats: conditions that lead to the top event
- Preventive controls: describe measures that either eliminate the hazard altogether or prevent the threat or top event
- Consequences: potential outcomes if the top event were to happen
- Recovery controls: controls that reduce the probability or severity of the specific consequence
Bowtie risk assessment is common in EHS when dealing with oil, gas and chemicals because these industries must somehow find a way to address high-risk events to successfully handle incidents.
Members of EHS and Sustainability (EHSS) and other emergency response teams are responsible for the identification, evaluation and reporting of the most probable emergencies, accidents and incidents within the organization. Other employees of the organization must follow and comply with emergency procedures and instructions to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
EHS Management software solutions also include Emergency Planning and Preparedness to record and track personnel, equipment and external organizations associated with emergency procedures. This allows organizations to set reviews and perform drills on such events.
Emergency Preparedness Plans provide multiple locations with the ability to record personnel, equipment and external organizations associated with these emergency procedures and protocols and set reviews on these procedures along with any needed training to ensure safety.
Furthermore, organizations can directly link the associated policies, procedures and work instructions with the Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) module records. These methods are especially important for proactive safety in case of chemical releases, spills, fires or other potentially catastrophic events.