396751 How Close Is My Operation to a Major Accident?

Monday, April 27, 2015
Exhibit Hall 5 (Austin Convention Center)
Abouzar Yousefi1, Manuel rodriguez Henrandez1 and Jaime martin Juez2, (1)Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Madrid, Spain, (2)Repsol, Madrid, Spain

Despite many efforts made to prevent major accidents in upstream industry, these accidents continue to occur. It seems that our thinking about how accidents happen and all the management systems based on that approach, while reasonably successful, does not enable us to achieve the goal of zero accidents.

Different accident models have been introduced to explain how accidents happen. Accident models are evolved over time from being lineal and deterministic to be non-lineal and non-deterministic. These models not only describe how potentially hazardous situations develop and what processes form the basis for this development, but also serve the goal of helping to define measures to prevent and control them.

To understand how effective are these preventive and control measures, safety performance indicators can be used. These indicators are of a reactive, or a proactive nature, depending of the characteristics of the indicators. Reactive indicators or lagging indicators are more commonly used indicators for upstream operations. These indicators are post-event types and generally show the safety level of the past time.

On the one hand safety level is not static and depends on many risk factors that change in presence and intensity over location and time. On the other hand major accidents have a very low frequency. Therefore reactive indicators cannot neither indicate how safe the operation is in real time nor warn how close the operation is to a major accident. For that reason proactive indicators or leading indicators are necessary to provide enough information at the right time to decision makers before an event happens.

Considering various accident models, it is recommended to use an adequate model for upstream operation and develop methods for the establishment of indicators, which can unveil early warnings of major accidents by measurements of underlying causes and contributing factors to major accidents.


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