This was a question posed to me by an engineering contractor the other day. Although I found the question quite strange, it made me think “okay, why do they need us?” I suppose there are a few answers:
- Regarding the end user perspective, we exist to provide an independent third-party view on whether the customer’s processes and procedures will meet the IEC 61508/61511 requirements for safety
- We have some of the leading experts in the field of functional safety on-hand to provide guidance and advice to help reduce risk and improve safety, which is a primary goal of exida
- We can offer a comprehensive set of tools and training to help customers’ meet and achieve their safety goals
So what? Surely it’s a matter of following best practices? It seems pretty straight forward to follow the standard and anyone with common sense and experience can do this, right? Unfortunately, all too often the answer is NO. We at exida have seen many HAZOPs and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) studies/reports that have missed scenarios that, if not addressed, could significantly increase the risk of an incident. The problem is that some of the independent 3rd -party contractors who’ve been commissioned to lead a HAZOP/PHA study and/or LOPA do not have the requisite knowledge, skills, and operational experience necessary to conduct this effectively. Reducing risk in line with the company’s tolerable risk goal is the name of the game; in doing so, a lot depends on the safeguards and independent layers of protection (IPLs) implemented to achieve the desired Risk Reduction Factor (RRF) (that will determine the target SIL). This can be the difference between achieving a safe vs. potentially hazardous solution. We have seen many clients’ process solutions fail to meet their target SIL levels because of this, which can lead to further expense and frustration. Customers will often argue with us over the results because they don’t really understand what’s involved. This is something that could have been/can be avoided if the customer invests in training to better develop their understanding.
This brings us back to the question: Why Do We Need You? Quite simply, we help you to understand and achieve your safety lifecycle goals in a cost effective and efficient manner that matches your risk reduction requirements and budget.
We look forward to working with you in the future.