How it was
XV Jubilee International Forum on Industrial Safety took place in St. Petersburg from May 30 to June 2, 2017
The event was attended by representatives of major companies, supervision authorities and intergovernmental organizations from 18 countries: Azerbaijan, England, Belarus, Hungary, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, USA, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Philippines, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Japan. Year 2017 has been announced the Year of Environment in Russia, so the Forum placed a special focus on vital challenges of environment protection. However, during two days of intensive work, the participants managed to discuss all important questions related to industrial safety.
The Forum guests and participants received a number of warm greetings. One of them was from the Governor of St. Petersburg. «Rapid development of high technologies in today’s world does not leave out occupational safety and total elimination of risks of accidents and catastrophes. These issues are particularly vital for St. Petersburg, where industry plays a key role in the city economy and provides jobs for thousands of its residents. I wish all the participants productive work, professional success and the most pleasant impressions of our city», Poltavchenko wrote.
It is a well-known fact the Forum is the largest platform for sharing experience in emergencies prevention and management.
Peter Kovacs, Chair of the UNECE Water Convention, Head of River Basin Management and Water Protection Department of Hungary, told about one of the severest tailing management facilities (TMF) accidents and lessons learned from the tragedy:
— Up to 2017 March 35 serious TMF accidents happened worldwide since the Baia Mare accident (2000). 17 years ago, accidental leak of cyanide into Somes river occurred through the fault of the gold mining company Aurul. The spill has been called the worst environmental disaster in Europe — the cyanide concentration was 700 times higher than the maximum permissible level. Causes of the accident include use of inappropriately desidn of tailing ponds, inadequate legislation, standards, inadequate monitoring of the construction and operation of the dams. A long-term rehabilitation programme was developed and implemented after the accident. It was important to assess all potential upstream pollution sources by independent international expert teams. Today in Hungary construction and the operation of the earth reservoirs/dams must comply with international norms and provisions. We continue to improve our system of preventive measures and the industry-specific regulations.
Noel Binag, Executive Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Centre of the Philippines, told about causes and consequences of one of the severest fires of the recent years:
— The fire broke out this February at of the factories belonging to House Technology Industries. Over 100 people were injured. It took almost 24 hours to put out the fire. People had to jump out of the windows. At the time of the accident, about 5,000 workers were on duty. After the accident, a number of technical and regulatory measures were taken. In particular, the Senate of the Philippines adopted a law imposing higher fines on those who are held liable for an accident. Every employer now has to pay 2,000 USD for administrative infractions, 5,000 USD for each occupational injury and 10,000 USD for each death at work.
The Forum again welcomed Chris Mawer, Vice-President for Health, Safety and Environment of British Petroleum Russia. Again, the expert declared that preventive measures can mitigate the risk of oil spills and their consequences:
— Accidents happen under certain circumstances. Hazards may be spotted with the help of special risk management procedures. When we analyze the situation that occurs immediately before a spill, the number of future near-misses decreases. In BP, we have three simple rules. Our goal is to ensure that our operations do not result in any accidents, do not put our workers’ life at risk and do not harm the environment. When selecting contractors, we try to engage only those companies which share our code of ethics.
One of the key topics of the event was improvement of industrial safety legislation. Alexander Isakov, Director for Science of GCE Group, reminded about a memorable date in the professional area:
— Today, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of establishment of legal framework in industrial safety. In 1997, Federal Law FZ-116 was adopted and became the legal basis on which the industry, supervision authorities and expert organization have been building their relationships for the past two decades. The Soviet legislation did not have any similar regulation, so Russia became the driving force in developing this legal area. The CIS started to adopt such regulations much later. From my point of view, it is good as these regulations are very similar in terms and definitions. That is why we can easily communicate with supervision authorities in the Commonwealth. For the past 20 years, the law has been subject to numerous changes. On the one hand, this fact shows that the law is a living matter and keeps up with the time. On the other hand, we don’t have enough time to adapt our work to the continuously changing regulations. However, the most important thing is that the 116-FZ became a common language for us and our CIS neighbors.
Vitaliy Dmitruk, Deputy Director for Operations and HSE of Togliattyazot Corporation, told about a comprehensive approach to occupation safety in his company:
— Recently, cooperation between the management of the company and its staff resulted in engagement of the workers in occupational safety. The industrial safety management system in the nitrogen industry aims at ensuring zero unplanned losses. Amendments to Federal Law 116-FZ under Federal Law 22-FZ enable to implement a more flexible approach to industrial safety in view of real risks.
Supervision authorities were represented at the event by Vladimir Pimenov, Head of Division of Hydropower Plants and Hydraulic Structures Supervision of Rostechnadzor. He warned the participants of new challenges and stated that the external threat in our times is not that unreal:
— It’s not a secret that today’s geopolitical situation is rather complicated. Recovery of a destroyed hydraulic structure costs huge amounts of money, especially if an accident involves a dam burst. In the case of Sayano—Shushenskaya Dam there is a chance, although a small one, that the total damages will not exceed 325 billion rubles. After the accident, the plant was fully reequipped. Only the concrete remained untouched and the reconstruction cost our country 40 billion rubles. That is why during our inspections we are especially focused on anti-terrorist security. We do that for a reason. There were attempts to blow up the generating unit at Baksanskaya and Irganayskaya HPPs. Rostechnadzor participates in monitoring of hydraulic structures security. It is clear that the main responsible authorities here are FSS and MIA, but we also must monitor the facilities. Let me enumerate main drawback that we have to face. Firstly, there are no controls over vehicles going along the crest of dams. All vehicles with the load capacity exceeding 2.5 tons must be examined on a special area. Secondly, there are no net booms protecting facilities from submarines and surface watercrafts. Of course, technically, it is quite a difficult solution, but if there are such requirements, they must be complied with. Thirdly, often there are no checkpoints on the boundaries of restricted water areas.
Still, how to protect your facility from an accident?... Alexander Moskalenko, President of GCE Group, expressed his opinion on improving security of such facilities:
— Endurance is not taken into account in design of industrial facilities. My colleagues and I graduated from a naval college. There, apart from the basic concepts, our teachers explained us the idea of endurance. Endurance is the ability of a ship to withstand damages while preserving combat capability. First of all, it is about flooding resistance, explosion and fire safety of systems and equipment, safety of the personnel. Generally, the same principles apply to industrial facilities. Endurance is achieved through a number of certain activities. First, it is personnel training on rescue of the already damaged ship. Second, it is to take technical and constructive measures. Speaking of vessels again, the most effective protection of a ship is provided by internal subdivision of a ship into watertight compartments. Let’s recall the accident at Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP which happened 8 years ago. Suddenly, turbine two broke apart. It took minutes for water to flood the engine hall and all the rooms below. All turbines were flooded. At the same time, because of short circuits the backup generators were disabled. Then the power output fell to zero, resulting in a local blackout. If we look at the pictures of the machinery hall before the accident, we can see that all turbines are located in the same room. Remember the endurance which is achieved by subdivision. If the hall had been divided into compartments, the accidents would have caused fewer damages. Also, on a submarine all critical systems are triplicated. The navy came to this idea long ago. So, why don’t industries use this experience of operating the most sophisticated systems? When a hydropower plant is designed, engineers are concerned with all kinds of issues: environment, finance, safety etc. Yet, endurance is left behind. Meanwhile, many principles applied in marine engineering are worth borrowing and using in industrial facilities — they are sure to have a positive effect on industrial safety.
Presentation of modern robotic systems, simulators and innovative software at the Forum has become a tradition. This year, Technoavia turned its presentation of protective clothing into a spectacular fashion show. As usual, the organizer took care of those experts who were unable to attend the event: specially for them the Forum was broadcasted in the Internet. The Forum was traditional finalized with excursions — this year the guests were offered to visit the famous forts of Kronshtadt and a retro cars museum of St. Petersburg.