Four golden practices for functional safety management

Managing functional safety activities and ensuring high integrity of instrumented barriers is not fundamentally different from other project management activities. This means that functional safety management should be integrated into the overall project planning, management and controlling activities. I will be presenting a paper written in cooperation with several colleagues at Lloyd’s Register Consulting at the next ESREL conference on this topic, but here is a sneak-peak at the four golden practices.

Golden practice 1 – Planning of functional safety should be a group activity involving all relevant organizations

Management of functional safety should be planned for the asset as a system, taking the whole lifecycle into account. Normally, the scope is split between a number of organizations and persons (owner, engineering, vendors, consultants, etc.). In order to plan activities and responsibilities such that it can be integrated into all these different organizations’ activities, a common planning session at the outset of a project is a good practice to coordinate activities and align priorities. Such a meeting should be facilitated by a competent functional safety expert. The results of functional safety planning should then be integrated into each organization’s project plan.

Golden practice 2 – Competence mapping and training development

Each company involved in the safety lifecycle shall have competence requirements for each role related to the work to be done. Mapping of competence of the employees should be performed in order to identify gaps, and training plans developed to make sure such gaps are closed. In assessing competence requirements, the factors described in Chapter 5 in the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association’s Guideline 070 should be used as a basis.

Golden practice 3
– Functional safety requirements in contracts

Include functional safety requirements in contracts across all interfaces, with clear descriptions of expected level of involvement, as well as deliverables such as hardware, software and documentation of such in accordance with project requirements. It should be included in the contract that all parties are required to prepare for and participate in audits and functional safety assessments as needed by the project. A simple reference to a standard may be legally binding but with only a simple standard reference it is unclear exactly what the priorities are and which activities each organization shall take care of.

Golden practice 4 – Constructive auditing

Consider need for audits of partners and vendors based on project risk (non-conformance risks, schedule risks and cost impact of such slips). If vendors have responsibility for development and engineering activities, auditing of these vendors should be considered. Functional safety audits should be integrated into the projects overall project plan.

Implementing the golden practices does not ensure a problem free project, but chances of high performance will certainly be improved by adopting these practices in your next project. Especially Golden Practice 1 – looking at functional safety planning as a cross-organizational activity is especially beneficial for establishing a common understanding and common goals for everyone involved.

One thought on “Four golden practices for functional safety management

  1. Treat your people well if you want your safety systems to work | safecontrols

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