What is Health Risk Assessment?
Health Risk Assessment (HRA) is the primary method for identifying and classifying the occupational health risk and its level of risk to the human in working environment. It is an important part of health and safety management in the oil and gas industry, where workers are exposed to a variety of potential hazards, including:
- Toxic chemicals
- Asphyxiating gases
- Heat and cold stress
- Ergonomic hazards
- Infectious diseases
The potential of hazards can be controlled / prevented by providing the recommendations through the process of study to ensure the safe working environment. The HRA study will take the possible control measures to assess the hazards and recommendations for further reduction of hazards.
Health Risk Assessment process typically includes the following steps
- Hazard identification: This involves identifying the potential hazards that workers are exposed in the workplace. This can be reviewed using job descriptions, safety data sheets, and other relevant information.
- Exposure assessment: Identifies the level of exposure to each hazard. This can be done by measuring Air quality, Noise levels, and other Environmental factors.
- Toxicity assessment: Assess the harmful effects of each hazard on human health. This information can be obtained from scientific studies and other sources.
- Risk characterization: This involves combining data’s obtained from the exposure assessment and toxicity assessment to estimate the risk of each hazard. The risk is typically expressed as the probability of developing a health problem over a certain period of time.
- Risk control: This involves developing and implementing measures to reduce the risk of each hazard. This method involves Engineering Controls, Administrative controls, or Personal protective equipment.
HRA is not a one-time process. It should be reviewed and updated on a regularly to identify changes in the workplace and new information about health hazards.
The Role of Health Risk Assessment (HRA) in the Oil and Gas Sector
The Health Risk Assessment (HRA) is like a deep dive into the world of oil and gas operations. It carefully checks out the potential dangers and issues that could happen in a facility or during an activity. The main goal is to identify risks and reduce or eliminate them.
To do this, the HRA goes through several steps. First, it lists out all the health-related issues. Next, it sorts these risks by how critical they are. After that, it suggests ways to handle these issues. The emergency scenarios shall be identified and the procedures to respond in the situation shall be included in the study.
In the challenging world of Oil and Gas, the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) stands out as a beacon of responsibility and foresight.
- Safety First: At its core, HRA is about ensuring a safe environment for all involved. With various operations running simultaneously, the assessment identifies potential health hazards and suggests mitigations.
- Informed Decision Making: It’s vital to make choices based on solid data. An HRA provides this, allowing companies to strategize better and prioritize tasks that minimize health risks.
- Community Connection: Beyond the workers, HRA also considers the surrounding communities. By doing so, the industry can operate harmoniously within its locale, ensuring mutual well-being.
- Regulatory Alignment: Staying updated with health standards and regulations is crucial. HRA ensures the oil and gas sector is not just compliant but proactive in adopting best practices.
- Efficiency and Productivity: A safe worker is a productive worker. By minimizing health risks, operations can run more smoothly, ensuring both safety and optimized output.
Techniques used for Identifying HRA
- Hazard and Operability study (HAZOP)
- Failure Mode and Effective Analysis (FMEA)
- Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA)
- Event Tree Analysis (ETA)
- Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)
HRA – Industry Standards & Regulations
Health Risk Assessment (HRA) is like a health-check. It ensures everyone’s safety, from workers to nearby communities. In India, two main groups look after these safety rules: the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD). They set guidelines on how HRAs should be done in the industry. These division of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is responsible for developing and enforcing safety standards in the Oil and Gas industry.
One major event that made everyone realize the need for HRA was the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984. Even though it wasn’t in the oil and gas sector, the accident at a pesticide plant caused a lot of harm. Since then, India implemented strict safety rules in all industries that handle risky materials.
- Process plant details
- MSDS of the chemicals handling at workplace
- Client guidelines for risk assessment
- Client health assessment policy
- Details of number of employees exposed / present in required location
- Site meteorology details
- Drawings and documents related to the particular location.
Risk Assessment Matrix
A risk assessment matrix is a tool that helps to evaluate the risk of an event occurring, by considering the likelihood of the event happening and the severity of the consequences of a specified severity occurring
It is a visual representation of the risks that an system encounter, and can be used to prioritize activities and allocate resources to manage those risks. Risk assessment matrixes can be used in a variety of contexts, such as Incident investigation, Classification of audit findings, and understanding on the level of controls needed to mitigate workplace hazards.
The likelihood of an event occurring is typically rated in levels high, medium, or low. The severity of the consequences on event occurrence is also rated as high, medium, or low. The risk of the event is then calculated by multiplying the likelihood and severity ratings.
If the likelihood of an event occurring is high and the severity of the consequences i is also high, then the risk of the event is very high. This means that the organization should take steps to mitigate the risk ASAP
A Risk Assessment matrixes can be a valuable tool for helping organizations to manage their risks effectively. By understanding the intensity risks and prioritizing them by allocating resources efficiently can reduce the likelihood of potential hazards.
Approach & Methodology of study:
The health risk assessment is based on the four principles
Strategies for HRA Study in Oil & Gas / Petrochemical / Other Industries
- Nature of hazard to health : This method identifies the potential health effects on exposure to the chemical. This information is essential for conducting a risk assessment.
- Degree of exposure : Helps in estimating the level of exposure to the chemical. This information is also essential for conducting a risk assessment.
- Potential health risk to an employee : Characterizes the risk of developing health problems due to exposure to the chemical. This method will develop and implement control measures to reduce or eliminate the risk.
- Measures and procedures to control any accidental release of the chemical as a result of leakage, spillage or process equipment failure
- Employee exposure monitoring program : Measures the level of exposure of workers to chemicals. This information can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures and to identify workers who may be at risk of developing health problems.
- Health surveillance program for employee : This is designed to identify and monitor the health of workers who are exposed to chemicals. This helps in identifying workers who may be at risk of developing health problems and provide them early care.
- Measures to control exposure of an employee to chemicals: These measures may include engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Employee exposure monitoring program : This information can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures and to identify workers who may be at risk of developing health problems.
- Methods and procedures for handling and care of chemicals : The employer should Implement methods and procedures for the safe handling and care of hazardous chemicals. These methods and procedures should be effectively communicated to workers and adequate training should be assured.