Safe Plant Operation, but are you sure?

The Health & Safety Executive provide a huge contribution to the safety of employees, assets and the public in the UK.

In the UK, everyone must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act (and where applicable also COMAH Regulations 2015). These regulations require that measures are taken to reduce the risks to business undertakings to a level which can be considered As Low as Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).

One area which is of increasing focus for the HSE is that of Functional Safety (FS) Management and Safety Instrumented Systems. The principle of Functional Safety,  SIL (safety Integrity Levels) and Performance Levels are largely well understood by the Oil & Gas sector and larger chemical/hazardous industries. However, many other industries are now realising they also have risks that need suitable control, and that Functional Safety equally applies to them. Sometimes these requirements come as a bit of a shock when highlighted during an HSE audit, resulting in remedial action to be taken.  

The HSE are increasingly auditing safety related operations & systems in industries outside of the traditional sectors and in smaller & medium sized businesses where the awareness for compliance is not as high. A lack of compliance or attention to a served improvement notice can lead to operations being shut down or even legal action being taken, with the obvious Business and financial impact.

Inspec Solutions have provided several companies with support leading up to and following HSE audits. This is in the form of reviewing existing systems, the suitability of documentation supporting the systems as well as the control and safety system functionality itself and where necessary developing plans to close any gaps identified in a timely manner and in accordance with HSE regulations. Following this work, we can also attend meetings with HSE to provide support and backup to your team. If an audit has already taken place, we can help formulate responses to non-conformances or improvement notices as well as practically help you through the whole audit process to a successful resolution.

Following a recent HSE audit Inspec Solutions were able to provide support to Wavin UK, (part of the Wavin Group – the world leader in plastic and clay pipe systems for residential, non-residential, and civil engineering projects) with systems compliance and Functional Safety services. The work and subsequent HSE auditing were successfully completed and currently Inspec Solutions are providing a SIL rated safety system for an existing LPG storage compound at Wavin’s Hazelhead site as part of our ongoing support for the company.

Chris Earl, Operations Manager at Wavin UK said “Wavin have committed to Functional Safety at every level of their business. During this process Inspec Solutions have supported Wavin every step of the way with HAZOP, LOPA & SIL verification services, in an exemplary manner, advising and executing the work in a highly professional and quality way. Their support has been invaluable in our continued drive for the safety of our operations and our commitment for safe working to our employees and local community”

If you are anticipating a HSE audit of your processes and systems, if you suspect you may have operational hazards that have not been addressed or if you have recently had an audit with outstanding actions, we can help you prepare and support you though the process of rectification. Contact us on [email protected] and one of our experts will be pleased to call you and discuss your plant and concerns and help find a way forward.