New standard integrates safety into design

The oil and gas industry has always recognized that facility design heavily influences the likelihood and consequences of major incidents and since Piper Alpha in 1987, considerable effort has gone into preventing further tragedies. Despite these improvements however, there have still been over 60 fatalities as a result of fires and explosions on offshore installations such as the incidents on Deepwater Horizon, Bombay High, Abkatun A and Gunashili No 10.

However, despite a worldwide focus on improving offshore safety, there had never been an international standard to guide project managers to integrate safety and environmental protection into the overall design process.

Now there is. The December 2016 publication of ISO 17776:2016, Major accident hazard management during the design of new installations was the work of an IOGP group of specialists in offshore safety, led by Nigel Savage (Shell).

It was a major collaborative exercise. The extended project team – working under IOGP’s ‘standards solution’ put in place for ISO work – comprised more than 20 Members. Consultation on the draft document generated over 300 high quality comments and suggestions.

The standard is applicable to the design of both fixed offshore installations and FPSOs and covers all credible major accident hazards which could affect people, the environment and assets. The focus of the standard is to eliminate high risk options at the screening-and-concept-selection-phase and then develop effective strategies to manage major accidents early in concept-definition-phase. Later phases of a project are focused on refining and delivering these strategies so that they will be effective in operations. The main body of the standard identifies the requirements for major accident hazard management including the commitment and accountability of project management, developing plans and strategies to manage major accident hazards and how these are to be applied during the various stages of a project life cycle.

The standard also contains extensive guidance on many of the commonly applied tools used to identify and assess major accidents and an extensive bibliography of related standards and guidance.

The new standard is available from the ISO website.

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