Disasters have been the outcomes of the interaction of humans with technology, nature, and different other entities, both living and non-living. In most cases, the disasters are sudden and unpredictable, while in other cases, the reasons behind the occurrence of a disaster are lingering and slow. The increase and development of technology and the greed of extracting the best out of nature have caused human being to counteract many man-made and natural disasters which has devastating outcomes (Kelly & McDermid, 1997).
After gaining comprehension of the fact that human lives are prone to disasters, man has been making efforts to develop various disaster risk management techniques. Disaster risk management basically refers to the process of making strategizing, implementing, evaluating, and adaptation of different measures and procedures associated with the assessment, minimization, and transfer of the risks related to disasters. These procedures are conducted with the objective of reducing vulnerability and hazards along with strengthening the adaptation and coping capacities of households, individuals, state structures and communities.
The aim of the report is to analyze the backgrounds and frameworks regarding the management of risks and disasters of the Piper Alpha Platform. Studying of the operations and processes of risk management along with focusing on the features of the safety case regime has been the orientation of the report. There has been an illustration of the ways in which the application of the risk management features could have prevented the disasters of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform Explosion in 1988.
The key features of risk management regarding safety case regime that would assist in reducing the risk of major accidents include the complete analysis and comprehension of the materials that are categorized under Schedule 9, facility and different dangerous goods that are contained in the facility. The main features of risk management would include having proper understanding of the activities that are performed by engaging such materials and the associated environment or community. Further, the features that are vital for having successful cases of safety include the hazards related with the possibility and facility along with implications of associated hazards and major incidents (Li, 2014).
The basis for having a safe construction and design of the entire facility, mostly the control measures that are engineered for huge hazards and prominent incidents have to be considered as a key feature for having a successful safety case. The basis for having safe maintenance and operations of the entire facility along with the parts of safety management system which are the measures of control or support have to be considered under the features of the safety case to be successful. The process by which the representatives of safety and health, relevant third parties and personnel have to be involved and consulted in the preparation of the entire safety case. Moreover, the process on the basis of which the Safety Case along with the assessments and procedures which elaborates need to be maintained. This has to be done in response to alterations in the facility’s operation and design (Li et al., 2014).
Piper Alpha was located in the North Sea as a platform for oil production that was completely operated and managed by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd subsidiaries under the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Occidental Petroleum Corporation happens to be a company that deals with the exploration and manufacturing of gas and oil in few countries. the site of Piper Alpha was under explosion and inferno on 6th July 1988 in the North Sea which resulted in the death of 167 people.
The outcome of the disaster has been reported to be a disaster due to the explosion of t eh oil rig which has been ranked as one of the most deadly disasters occurring offshore. In accordance with an official investigation, the failure of the management regarding safety by the company was the cause of the disaster in the Piper Alpha Platform. The first explosion was the primary event of initiation. It was followed by the secondary event and tertiary event of explosion (Paté‐Cornell, 1993).
Inclusion Of Safe Shutting
With the inclusion of safe shutting of the equipment and plant, there can be a reduction in the possible risk of any kind of injury when there are people working in any equipment or in the plan. This would be done by safeguarding the equipment or the item along with the components from further being subjected to motion.
There will be prevention of the accidental release of all kinds of stored energy which will prevent any further disaster from happening. There has to be sufficient attention paid to the inspection and maintenance of the equipment and the entire plant for preventing any kind of disaster and risk. By paying increased attention to the inspection and maintenance of the equipment and plant, the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform could prevent hazardous disasters and explosions. The items, of the equipment and the plant had to be shut down in a safe manner in the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform (Thapa, 2018).
The simple items had to be shut down basically by the use of a single shut down option through a valve or switch. The more intricate and compelling items would have been made to shut down with the help of different sources of energy or in a sequence. The Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform could have placed an Out of Service Tag completed on every control of the source of energy which would have prevented the entire system from exploding.
Management of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform
The entire management of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform would have identified all kinds of hazards which included chemical, burns, mechanical, falls, impact and asphyxiation in order to be aware of any kind of possible hazard or risks. The management of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform needed to take care of the fact that all the items and working equipment that were installed and used in the plants and to meet the conditions and standards before installing them in the plant.
The items that would involve one single source of energy along with the source of energy have to be under the direct regulation of a worker in the entire time of operation. Any particular work had to be assigned to a single worker who would have complete knowledge about the operations and know-how of the equipment.
By engaging such categorization of work and duties, the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform could have avoided the risk of many people working on it. The items and the work had to be assigned to the employees that had the technical competencies associated with the work. In such cases, the other requirements of safety could be considered in a lenient manner. An example of such an aspect could be related to the provision of permit-to-work (Li et al., 2014).
The management of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform had to take extreme care of conducting a review of the JSA by the facilities service. The departments also had to issue required locks and tags along with maintaining the entries made into the register of lock and tag. The department of facilities services needed to determine the additional measures that would have been required along with the high level and standards of supervision. There had to be high maintenance of isolation for all the sources of energy in regards to lockout and tag out. This feature had to be applicable for any employee or individual who was working on any equipment or plant.
There had to be approval issued from the JSA and regular issuing of the required locks and tags. The isolation of every source of energy would refer to one lock and one tag of danger to be projected on every point of isolation. There had to be the obtainment of different safety hasps as there were many numbers of employees involved and preened on their platform.
The structures of design of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform were not appropriate which also has a significant contribution to the occurrence of the risks and disasters. The failure of the structure occurred when the installation of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform lost the ability for supporting the topside as an outcome of environmental and operational loading.
The Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform needed to follow many criteria which had to be integrated with the structural design of the platform. It would have assisted in providing guidance to the employees and other individuals working in the facility and the plant which could have assisted in the identification of the upcoming that resulted in the outburst of fire. An effective model had to be included in accordance with the five criteria which would have assisted in gaining control over the fire and damage extent of the entire platform. Moreover, the damage could have been minimized by the inclusion of the fire criteria within the structural designs frameworks (Li et al., 2014).
The case of Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform was the outcome of various unfortunate series of actions, most of which were the outcomes of the incorrect decisions that were taken by the management of the company and the platform. The disaster which aggravated in the later items could have been mitigated if there would have been effective integration of the criteria in the platform. Any kind of manufacturing company or plant needs to have regular inspection of the workplace or the area in order to identify any kind of loophole that exist within the operational setup of frameworks of the unit. Integrating appropriate inspection scheduled has to be treated like a mandate in the platform in order to conduct all the activities of operations in a very safe and smooth manner. The inspection schedule has to be considered as a compulsory task that would assist in recognizing any kind of physical risks, chemical hazards, biological or economical risks before the beginning of the production process for the day. It could be observed that the individuals who were in charge of the inspection schedule were neglecting conducting their duties and there was a lack of authentic maintenance of the records regarding the removal of PSV which resulted in the disasters. It can be stated that the culture of “rule-based” can be held accountable for the loss of property and life (Kelly & McDermid, 1997).
In any site of operation or production workplace, there has to be a careful handover schedule by the workers working in the first shifts to the workers taking charge of the consecutive shifts in order to make the later employees be aware and alert of the specific responsibilities and roles. The employees who worked in the previous shift also have the accountability of passing the information to the employees joining the later shift in order to make them aware of the condition of the works when they left.
There was a gap in the information flow between the employees in the consecutive shifts which resulted in the death of 167 workers. The technical protocols of the entire platform can be regarded to the bad handover of duties. Due to the bad shift handover, 62 employees who had duties in the night shift turned on the condensate pump which faulty installation which further had resulted in the disasters. This also encompasses the fact that there had to be careful job safety analysis done in order ti ensure safety in the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform.
There is increased scope for the conduction of various research studies which could be based on disaster control. The case of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform facilitates scope and opportunity for further research which could assist in gaining an in-depth understanding of the prevention of disasters and risks. There are various reasons and causes which led to the disaster of the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform which can act as limitations for future research studies on the subject. However, by segregating the causes, the research study can assist in devising better ways to prevent and mitigate disasters of such kinds (Kelly & McDermid, 1997).
Due to the unpredictable nature of risk and disasters, any kind of production and operational unit of any industry needs to encompass enhanced measures of security and safety that will prevent the occurrence of such disasters. Apart from the human flaws, there were various causes that had to be taken care of by the Piper Alpha Oil & Gas Platform for preventing the hazardous outcome. The management of the safety measures has to be taken into serious consideration by any company that is operational in any kind of industry in order to have a safe working environment.
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