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RISK MANAGEMENT


Figure 1; Example use of ‘Claims, Arguments, Evidence’ approach to justify Integrity of Offshore Wind Turbine foundation


3) PROPORTIONALITY IS KEY! The level of detail, analysis etc. you present in your Safety Case must always be proportionate to the associated risk. Too little and your Safety Case will be inadequate. Too much and you’ll waste valuable time, effort and resources and degrade the perceived value of the exercise. This is particularly important when cherry-picking tools and techniques from higher hazard industries. As such, Safety Cases can be large and complex for say a nuclear installation [complex and highly hazardous] or be very brief and simple for less complex, less hazardous facilities such as wind farms.


4) UNDERSTAND THE SCOPE OF YOUR SAFETY CASE


You must be clear on what plant, operations etc. your Safety Case is covering. Whilst clearly it will cover the wind turbines, it is unlikely to cover the onshore substation or access vessels as these will likely be operated by others. That said, it must dove-tail with the safety justification for these to ensure all interfaces are fully understood and mutually achieved.


5) INVOLVE ALL STAKEHOLDERS You must involve all stakeholders to ensure that the above interfaces are adequately managed. Involving people with hands-on experience in all aspects of the design and operation of a wind farm is critical. They know what goes on in the real world! They will bring valuable experiences from other projects which will help make your Safety Case more robust.


A major benefit of a Safety Case approach is the sharing of knowledge, experience and best practice along the journey.


6) SAFETY CASE V OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM [OHSMS]


Your Safety Case doesn’t need to go back to first principles to ensure/ demonstrate your wind farm is safe. Your corporate and/or wind farm specific OHSMS should provide a framework for safe operations. Rely on your OHSMS [see Figure 2] and use it to simplify your Safety Case and ensure a consistent approach across all your wind farms.


8) A SAFETY CASE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE SAFETY


Once you have written your Safety Case don’t just stick it on a shelf and rest on your laurels. Remember, it’s action that reduces risk, not paperwork! You must use it to retain focus on safe operations whilst making sure it is updated to reflect the evolving nature of the facility. Also, things inevitably get missed. Don’t become blinkered to new hazards/risks. Ensure emergent issues are folded into the Safety Case as they arise to ensure they are managed effectively. It must be a living document that reflects the actual plant status and mode of operation otherwise it is worthless. This takes effort and commitment and must be factored into your resource plans.


Figure 2; Safety Case and OHSMS Interfaces


7) A ‘LIFE-CYCLE’ SAFETY CASE It is important that you identify key Safety Case milestones at the outset of your project. How and when are you going to demonstrate your wind farm has been designed, constructed, commissioned, operated and decommissioned safely? Can these milestones be combined? What structure is appropriate for each milestone?


We can’t tell you what a safety case process should look like for your organisation because of the diversity of the industry and the internal management arrangements within your organisation. But if you follow the principles above you’ll end up with a valuable, proportionate process tailored to the needs of your organisation that doesn’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth!


Gareth Ellor Risktec Solutions Ltd www.risktec.co.uk


www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


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