On the 29th of January, Slice and CGE brought together around 50 people for the ‘Barriers at the Botlek’ event, to discuss barrier management practices as experienced by companies who’ve embraced barrier-based risk management, such as Shell, Sandvik and Odfjell. Discussed topics were: barrier maturity levels in organizations, moving from risk registers to a barrier-based approach, using HAZOP in combination with BowTieXP, identifying barrier strengths and weaknesses with AuditXP and nurturing effective safety culture.
Determining how far organizations have developed their barrier thinking
The afternoon was kicked off by Alex de Ruijter from Slice, discussing current trends in barrier-based risk management. The presentation was structured using the barrier maturity model, a scale that was used to indicate how far an organization has developed their barrier thinking in the different areas of risk management. Some of the areas discussed were how companies have used incident analysis and auditing to assess barrier strength but also which type of barrier information should be given to which audience in the company.
Moving from traditional risk registers to a barrier-based approach
Reinier Wink from Sandvik followed, sharing their story on how they are embarking on their barrier-based risk management path. By using a timeline, he openly walked us through the events and steps they took that made them look into barrier-based risk management and how they are gradually moving towards it. The process of moving from traditional risk registers to a more barrier-based approach was at the end of the day emulated during the workshop session by Jasper Smit from Slice. Here, participants played a game of transforming information provided in a HAZID format to a BowTie format and actively experienced what insights can arise from that process.
Using HAZOP in combination with BowTieXP
Afterwards the floor was given to Alex Schoots, presenting on how they now use bowtie analysis instead of HAZOP for some of the processes in Odfjell. His message was not to discard HAZOP altogether since it is a very robust and systematic way of identifying weaknesses in the design of a plant. However, it has its limitations when the plant leaves the blueprint and becomes operational. Bowtie analysis has a more communicative aspect and may therefore be better suited for day to day operations. They have therefore chosen to use HAZOP during the design phase, but then switching to bowties for the operational phase.
Identifying barrier strengths and weaknesses with AuditXP
Chris Evans (from a large petrochemical aviation company) showed his use of AuditXP to identify strengths and weaknesses in their collection of barriers for engineering operations. He based his EOSA (Engineering Operational Safety Audit) idea based on the already existing LOSA, TEM and compliance monitoring methods but used barrier-based auditing to portray the results directly on a bowtie diagram. This enabled him to focus on a specific threat in one of his bowties and assure the organization that those barriers are indeed effective. In addition, this approach allowed him to avoid introducing yet another tick-box exercise tool, but actually spark fruitful discussion.
Nurturing effective safety cultures through bottom-up fashion
On a less barrier related note, although all the more interesting, Dr. Frank Guldenmund from the Technical University of Delft presented on how an effective safety culture can be nurtured through a bottom-up fashion. Through the presentation of various models on culture, he clarified that although the concept of culture may be ‘fuzzy’ and difficult to grasp, the behavior that is caused by and reinforced by it is indeed very tangible. Therefore, great opportunity lies on the work floor where this behavior actually takes place. This is where the exchange between employees should take place, where they can explain their views and form a shared view. He therefore argues to focus on teams, not the entire organization as a whole in order to improve safety culture.
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