Risk-Education in the gas industry

Article by Mohammad Reza Yousefipour – Corresponding author: HSE Manager, HSE Main Office, National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC).




Objectives: The risk is a constant companion, and always lurking everywhere. Risk is a danger that can be realized in the form of a negative consequence. In general, risk management means recognition, assessment of risks in the form of defence, avoidance or mitigating adverse effects. Prevention and minimizing danger and avoiding and minimizing damage are at the centre of counter measures. Risk education is considered as the basis for the safety behaviour of all employees. The goal of risk education is a cognitive approach to risks, that is pre–prevention as an attitude.

Methods: The experience of Iranian gas companies (based on accident analysis) was used and a literature review was performed.

Results: In risk education, the structure of task-related risks is clearly visualized; the ability to assess risks is enhanced and risk communication in the group is encouraged. In classical assessment of safety measures and mechanisms, risk education is located on the mental level. Here, the professional technical staff is encouraged to expand the interdisciplinary approach of thinking. In risk education, the technologically oriented aspects move to the background and socio-cultural components receive greater importance. This means that in the social and technological system, the focus is shifted to humans and human behavior. The aim is, to further develop the strategy of “securing safety” and “prevention”. Through risk education, we arrive at pre-prevention. That means a departure from the purely defensive attitude towards a conscientious handling of risks based on risk education. Risk education aims at understanding and assessing “predictable” risks. The tools are experience, methodology training, communication and responsibility. NIGC has conducted many risk education courses for employees since establishing HSEMS. The risk education was 11340 hours per person and 7 industrial accidents and 12 deaths occurred in 2014, while these factors were 20580, 6 and 8 in 2015, respectively.

Conclusion: By arranging the risk education in NIGC, the rate of industrial accidents and death decreased; on the other hand, the more risk education hours per person result in less accidents in the workplace. Risk management is not limited to a small circle of specialists, but involves all employees of a company. The ideal goal of the concept of “risk education” is to make every employee a “small risk manager” and assign each risk to a specific “risk owner”, depending on the situation. The upper management has to show understanding for transparency of the individual steps of risk education, so that a conscious risk education should be understood and lived as part of an open “risk culture”. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) began an offensive risk education in their prevention strategy. Recent literature advises to start risk education already in schools: Ideally, all teachers should receive training in safety and health at work, and on methods of how to incorporate risk education into their teaching. It is certainly a challenge to meaningfully integrate risk education into the curriculum. At work, it is a meaningful and purposeful issue that risk education finds the attention and acknowledgement of the upper management and makes its way into the training programs for safety and health managers.

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter  & Follow us @GasInteract.

Thursday, April 6th 8:45am – 5:30pm (Technical Session, Stream 1)Health, Safety & Environment will be discussed by leading companies such as NIGC, Chiyoda Corporation, WorleyParsons, SNC-Lavalin, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery at Gastech 2017. Click here to view the Gastech conference programme.

Photo Courtesy of NIGC

More on HSE: