The benefits of industrial risk assessment
Industrial risk assessment has improved over the years. Vinicius Ambrogi is a technical manager at environmental engineering and consultancy Geoklock, a company of Swiss group EBP. He explained that there are programs that use georeferenced images and other data to measure zones impacted in critical events, allowing a better definition of actual risks, both individual and collective. This type of assessment has been mandatory for many years in some Brazilian states, as is the case with São Paulo. Still, many facilities, both new and old, have not yet been the object of any analysis.
“It is important to note that we are talking about a type of work that requires little time and low investment. Yet, it can not only identify the need for preventative measures, allowing companies to maintain a positive institutional image of proactive prevention, but it can also reduce costs, by lowering insurance premiums associated with accidents, for instance,” said Ambrogi.
According to him, city growth itself creates demands for industrial risk assessment, as zoning regulations change and areas that used to have low occupation density may now have homes and people in the surroundings of industrial plants. “Such occupations do not always comply with the requirements made by the authorities. That is why specialized services are required: to assess the risks associated with changes to soil use and occupation.”
He also remarked that this type of assessment can now be conducted using advanced tools: last-generation computer programs that can process georeferenced data and imagery more precisely. That provides more accurate forecasts and calculations of potential damages in the event of an accident. “We always consider frequency and potential damage. For instance: if an event is both frequent and capable of causing significant damage, a series of actions are required to minimize the risks – whether in terms of the frequency or of the magnitude of the effects. The collection of accurate data allows calculations that support the selection of a set of actions suited to attenuate frequency or damage.”
According to him, although São Paulo has good management, there is a lot that can still be done in terms of urban planning integrated to risk assessment for the city’s growth. There are ways to identify and assess risks to soil, surface water and groundwater, as well as risks to human health. “In Switzerland, for instance, risks can be assessed based on financial losses, or on soil and water contamination, among others. Companies that adopt these models can identify, in advance, other variables that may come up in the event of an accident. The previous identification of such variables can minimize risks to a company’s image and add value to its business,” Ambrogi explained.
According to him, it is a cost-efficient solution, since prevention projects can be evaluated in terms of investment versus the reduction of different types of risks. In this manner, the investment pays for itself and is cost-effective.
Companies that manage the risks of their facilities (e.g.: those that handle fuels, toxic and flammable products) should conduct risk assessments whenever indicated. Ambrogi says: “We are talking about the whole range: from large operations, such as a petrochemical industrial site, to a small company that has a LPG or diesel fuel tank in its yard. This is a strategic issue that goes beyond safety. It can prevent production interruptions, drops in a company’s market value and legal problems that can end up costing a lot in the future.”
Source: Ecommerce News