The basis of safety for offshore installations is defined in the Installation Safety Case, but whilst this provides a living document in broad terms it is not well suited to assessing how the safety risks on an installation may be changing on a day-to-day basis. Operational risk assessments provide a mechanism to identify and assess individual issues or shortcomings in safety and environmentally critical elements (SECEs) for example, and many operators also have some form of cumulative risk process to try to assess the overall impact of multiple issues or shortcomings. The challenge is to bring all these various elements together so that the status of an installation at a given point in time can be represented to enable an assessment of the risks and how the various issues and shortcoming in SECEs are contributing to that risk.



ESR Technology has worked with north sea operators to develop a tool that models the major hazard risk implications of the status of an installation by bringing together the key elements of the operational risk assessments and cumulative risk processes into an integrated overarching tool. The tool models the status of the safety critical elements, the interdependencies between these, and the role they play in managing the installation hazards. It also takes account of the status of the activities on the installation and the extent to which these change the inherent risks, and the effects of management and organisational factors that can influence the overall risks. The baseline risk is taken from the current QRA results which represent the average risks for the installation.

The tool output has been carefully developed to support the installation management team in their regular reviews and decision-making processes. It provides a simple traffic lights system for key safety aspects to assist the offshore management team assess the risks presented by the installation based on its current status, and assess how changes to the status can affect the risks. The tool facilitates a better informed and pro-active approach to risk management on the installation and plays a key role in the Operational Risk Assessment process. It also provides a useful planning support tool for onshore operations support functions, providing a means to assess the safety implications of various work tasks or campaigns.


The development of the tool involved close collaboration with operators to ensure that it met the requirements of both offshore end users and onshore technical teams. The approach involved the following features:

  • Workshops with users to understand key requirements for the tool.
  • Identification and re-use of existing inputs, where possible, e.g. SECE status records, current KPI’s for organisational factors etc. with the aim of building on existing systems and processes.
  • Aim for a simple, transparent tool that would take no more 15 minutes to enter data and interrogate results for discussion at the weekly offshore planning meeting.
  • Development of an initial prototype model using Excel.
  • Further workshops with users to tune and test the model using typical operational scenarios.
  • Extensive offshore trials on one of a north sea operators producing installations to provide feedback on the tool and its usability and ensure that the output of the model was consistent with the operational decisions taken by the OIM.
  • Roll out to operators other operating assets in the North Sea.
  • CORAM is now being used routinely on all of some north sea operators producing assets.

The output of the model is presented in a simple graphical form using four risk categories which can be linked to indicative decision criteria.


In addition to the overall ’cumulative’ risk output, information on the risk status of the key contributors and other measures is also provided as a series of traffic lights.



In addition to these simple traffic lights, an indication of the relative magnitudes of the scores against each traffic light indicator to give a clear visual indication of the risk status of the installation is provided:


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