Re: [SystemSafety] Fwd: Measurement + Control

From: Andrew Rae < >
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 11:48:58 +0000


Thanks for alerting to the availability of the article, Peter.

One of the "outsourcing" issues which the paper alludes to but does not elaborate on is outsourcing of the safety function itself. I've found it hard to get exact figures, but anecdotal and advertising indicators suggest that outsourcing major hazardous facilities safety reports
(COMAH in the UK) to consultants seems to be a widespread practice. Combine this with overworked and under-staffed regulators, and we have safety analysis prepared by consultants and then never thoroughly reviewed by either the customer or the regulator. The Buncefield safety report had been in the system for well over a year without the review being completed at the time of the accident.

I worry sometimes that safety expertise can be too intimidating, damaging culture. Because the safety experts see themselves as the only ones competent to do the analysis, everyone else sees safety as something to be outsourced to internal or external expert groups. The result is that we have a small group of people doing safety work (themselves too divorced from the actual design and operation of the system to do the work properly), and no one spare to review and check the work, or to improve the way the work is done.

My system safety podcast: http://disastercast.co.uk My phone number: +44 (0) 7783 446 814
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On 11 December 2013 18:27, Peter Bernard Ladkin <ladkin_at_xxxxxx
> wrote:

> I received this message from the publishing house Sage. They used to be
> known mostly for social-scince stuff, but recently took over PEP, who
> do/did the various parts of the Proceedings of the IMechE, and I suppose
> those for other engineering professional societies also.
>
> Sage offers free access to certain articles until Sunday, somif you're
> quick you can download the Buncefield article by Colin Howard, as I did.
> The Secretary of the German functional safety standards committee, Ingo
> Rolle, is interested in issue concerning Buncefield, and I sent it to him.
> He is on this list, as I seem to remember is Carl Sandom, who is convening
> the IEC project on human factors in functional safety. Ingo's comment
> speaks directly to HF issues.
>
> [begin comment Ingo Rolle]
>
> Thanks for this article, one of the few I read in full recently. The
> switching device for the high level alarm was replaced in 2004, prior to
> the accident, at that tank which was overfilled in 2005. I draw the
> conclusion that the change of switching principle in that device was a
> major contribution to the ill-fated sequence of events, although I didn't
> find a more explicit statement of the author on this.
>
>
> [I agree with that conclusion. PBL]
>
>
>
> Nevertheless, the scenario described of actions and efforts to replace the
> switch and amend the situation reminded me of my own experience as an
> engineer associated with process facilities. In my view such a situation
> [as occurred here] is the clear consequence of outsourcing of maintenance
> personnel. It is strange to make large investments, establish facilities on
> green field sites, and then leave such assets without people assigned to
> operate them and look after them properly. I think we are the first
> civilization to engage in such foolishness ("outsourcing"). Only people who
> know and understand the facilities, have a close relation to them, know
> their colleagues and environment and have some time for that will track
> weaknesses, address them and keep the whole thing safe and well running.
>
>
>
> One may outsource particular activities but the core management of
> maintenance must stay in the company or facility
>
>
>
> Ingo Rolle
>
>
>
> [end comment Ingo Rolle]
>
>
> PBL
>
> Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, University of Bielefeld and Causalis Limited
>
> Begin forwarded message:
>
> *From:* "SAGE Measurement and Control" <announcements_at_xxxxxx > *Date:* 4 December 2013 14:21:13 CET
> *To:* <ladkin_at_xxxxxx > *Subject:* *Measurement + Control*
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> SAGE are offering free access to the following articles until
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> 1. Cable Screens in Hazardous Areas<http://content.news.sagepub.co.uk/emessageIRS/servlet/IRSL?v=5&a=10050&r=20825&m=12699&l=6&e=2&x=2456997.0>
> Chris Towle
>
> 2. Developing Measurement Facilities for Carbon Capture and Storage<http://content.news.sagepub.co.uk/emessageIRS/servlet/IRSL?v=5&a=10050&r=20825&m=12699&l=7&e=2&x=2456997.0>
> Calum Hardie
>
> 3. The Buncefield Incident - 7 Years on: Could It Happen Again?
> <http://content.news.sagepub.co.uk/emessageIRS/servlet/IRSL?v=5&a=10050&r=20825&m=12699&l=8&e=2&x=2456997.0>
> Colin Howard
>
> 4. Using CFD to Understand Multiphase and Wet Gas Measurement<http://content.news.sagepub.co.uk/emessageIRS/servlet/IRSL?v=5&a=10050&r=20825&m=12699&l=9&e=2&x=2456997.0>
> Neil Barton, Andrew Parry
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> 5. Pigs, Pipelines and PLUTO: A History of the United Kingdom’s
> Largest Oil Pipeline and Storage System during World War Two
> <http://content.news.sagepub.co.uk/emessageIRS/servlet/IRSL?v=5&a=10050&r=20825&m=12699&l=10&e=2&x=2456997.0>Tim
> Whittle
>
> I look forward to hearing from you. Please do get in touch with any
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>
> Ron Summers
> Editor, *Measurement + Control*
> *r.summers_at_xxxxxx > »] View sample issue<http://content.news.sagepub.co.uk/emessageIRS/servlet/IRSL?v=5&a=10050&r=20825&m=12699&l=12&e=2&x=2456997.0>
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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Thu Dec 12 2013 - 12:49:12 CET

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