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SEMS Element #10- Emergency Response and Control #2

Posted by: Brady Austin

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I hope you read the previous concerning the issues I discovered recently on a rig audit relating to the extremely poor condition of the emergency response and control. There are numerous items that make up an effective system. They can be classified into 6 basic categories.

  1. Emergency Response Management
  2. Command and Communication
  3. Training/ Drills
  4. Temporary Refuge
  5. Evacuation and Escape Equipment
  6. Recovery
  1. Emergency Response Management which is basically made up of the following items:
    • Emergency response policy which dictates the company’s emergency response philosophy.
    • Emergency response hazard analysis should be directly related to the facility hazard analysis that we have discussed in previous SEMSinars™.
    • Emergency response plan where the hazards addressed in the analysis are mitigated. Explain how they will be mitigated using what equipment and by whom in what timeframes.
  2. Command and Communication is made up items similar to:
    • A defined command structure for the facility during emergencies. Think along the lines of SEMS II requirements for UWA (ultimate Work Authority).
    • An established onshore emergency command center and support team.
    • Contact information for standby equipment information, standby vessels and helicopters, oil spill response teams, etc.
    • Suitable communication equipment with adequate back-up systems that is capable of communicating with the established emergency command center.
  3. Emergency Response Training/ Drills
    • Ensuring hierarchy identified in the command structure has the relevant training. This may be referenced by industry or regulatory training requirements as a minimum, but I recommend exceeding those minimums.
    • Ensure adequate emergency team coverage- fire teams, fall protection rescue teams, confined space rescue teams and so on.
    • Develop and implement a drill program. Require varying times of the day for drills to occur. Implement different scenarios.
    • Proactively set time constraints for response and hold the crews to them. Hold after drill reviews. What went right, what went wrong.
    • Strengthen your HSE induction program. This step can save lives of the personnel visiting your location as well as your normal crew.
  4. Temporary Refuge
    • Clearly defined and included in the induction. Also recommend an evacuation map in the bunkrooms indicating the assigned escape routes and instructions such as what to do in the event the temporary refuge is compromised.
  5. Evacuation and Escape Equipment
    • Adequate type, placement and supply- Dependent upon the previously mentioned hazard analysis.
  6. Recovery To A safe Location
    • Identify the preferred means of escape- helicopter, boat, etc.
    • How will personnel escape when preferred method is unavailable- escape capsule, rafts, ladders to water, standby boats, etc
    • Unfortunately you will also need to address estimated survival times of personnel in the exposed conditions they will encounter and what the estimated response time will be if everything fails. There should be a margin of safety in this estimate as well as a level of uncertainty.

There you have a basic layout of emergency response and control. The better developed, implemented and maintained it is equals lives saved in an emergency situation. It is that simple.

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