ORA / ORM is a barrier based solution that provides senior management in hazardous industries with the ability to reduce risk, optimize performance and drive continuous improvement across their global operations. ORA / ORM gives insight into all degraded situations, keeps track of and manages the overall cumulative risk profile of the installation as well as ensuring that correct mitigations are in place.
The term ‘Hazard’ suggests something that is unwanted, but in fact it is the opposite: it is exactly the thing you want or even need to run a business. For example in the oil industry; oil is a dangerous substance (and can cause a lot of harm when treated without care), but it is the one thing that keeps the oil industry in business. It needs to be managed because as long as it is under control, it is harmless.
Thus as long as a Hazard is controlled it is in its desired state. For example: oil in a pipe on its way to shore. However, certain events can cause the Hazard to be released. This so-called Top Event is not a catastrophe yet, but the dangerous characteristics of the Hazard are now in the open. For example: oil is outside of the pipeline (loss of containment). Not a major disaster, but if not mitigated correctly it can result in more undesirable events (consequences).
Often there are several factors that could cause the Top Event. These threats need to be sufficient or necessary: every threat itself should have the ability to cause the Top Event. For example: corrosion of the pipeline can lead to the loss of containment.
When a Top Event has occurred it can lead to certain consequences. A consequence is a potential event caused by the release of the Hazard which results directly in loss or damage. Consequences in the BowTie method are unwanted events that an organization wants to avoid by any means. For example: oil leaking into the environment.
Risk management is about controlling risks. This is done by placing barriers to prevent certain events from happening. A Control can be any measure taken that acts against some undesirable force or intention, in order to maintain a desired state. There are proactive Controls that prevent the Top Event from happening. For example: regular corrosion-inspections of pipelines. There are also reactive Controls that prevent the Top Event from resulting into unwanted consequences. For example; leak detection equipment or a concrete floor around an oil tank platform.
In an ideal situation a Control will stop a Threat from causing the Top Event. However, many Controls are not 100% effective. There are certain conditions that can make a Control fail. The Escalation Factor is a condition that leads to increased risk by defeating or reducing the effectiveness of a Control. For example; an earthquake leading to cracks in the concrete floor around a pipeline.
If you want to be completely sure that there is no risk present you have to eliminate the Hazard. But since the Hazard is a part of normal business this is simply not possible. We accept there is a risk and we try to do everything possible to keep the risk “As Low As Reasonably Practicable” (ALARP). For a risk to be ALARP it should be demonstrable that the cost involved in reducing the risk further would be grossly disproportionate to the benefit gained. ALARP means something different for every organization; it depends on what risks an organization does or does not want to take and what an organization wants to spend (in time & money) on control measures.
For further information:
- Cumulative Risk management
- Operational Risk management
- Graphical overview of all barriers
- Guiding ORA process via risk register
- HSE UK guidelines