The lessons learned after man-made accidents, analysis of industrial disasters and emergency protection practices, innovations in risk-reduction techniques and sharing experience among HSE experts from more than thirty countries – this is the outcome of XIII International Forum on Industrial Safety held on June 3-4, 2015 in St.Petersburg.
This year, fifteen countries and many regions of the Russian Federation sent their delegations presenting governmental supervisory agencies, industrial enterprises and intergovernmental organizations. The event hosted by GCE Group is targeted to enhancement of interstate cooperation in the area of industrial accident prevention. The Forum is supported by the United Nations Organization, IAEA and CIS Executive Committee. The Forum delegates received welcome letters from Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the Russian Federation Government, Georgiy Poltavchenko, the Governor of St.Petersburg and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation.
Aleksey Kapaev, Deputy Head of the North-West Department of Federal Service for Environment, Technological and Nuclear Supervision came out with the opening speech and accentuated necessity of international cooperation and joint solving of industrial safety issues:
- We are living in the era of innovations and technical progress. However, this era brings us some negative trends and effects that we are trying to mitigate. I’m sure that there are no territorial boundaries, if we speak about safety and human health issues. Nowadays, we are standing in need of cooperation, sharing experience and knowledge, technical readiness and timely response to potential hazards. Russian industrial safety policy is being improved, also on the basis of international experience. We are preparing to implement new supervision practices which include remote control and we are developing new materials which allow using risk-oriented approach during hazardous production facilities operation and supervision. I would like to emphasis, that we are open for a dialogue in the same way as supervision agencies from other countries, because we understand clearly the importance of cooperation. I’m sure that this Forum will help to find solutions to prevent many industrial accidents and to save many lives.
Delegates showed great interest to the report of Vladimir Savinov, Vice President of Etalon Company and a member of the work group under the Ministry of Trade. Mr. Savinov said that crucial changes were introduced into the legislation and these changes will affect interests of millions of working people:
- Presently, it is a time of changes in our area. The latest changes were introduced into the Labor Code of the Russian Federation on May 2, 2015. However, I would advise not to by the published version of this documents – it will lose its relevance, as soon as your reach home. It goes without saying that new principle of remuneration – pensions, leaves and others is the most discussable nowadays. We remember that employees working in harmful conditions always receive remuneration. At this, nobody was interested in real labor conditions, as we found upon documents issued in 1974. Those years, it was complicated to provide adequate assessment, but now these documents have been called off and nobody takes care of how the job you do is called. The only thing remaining important is what labor conditions you have after the special assessment of labor conditions. If the assessment says that your labor conditions are normal, you will not have a right to get any remuneration. Consequently, special assessment of labor conditions is very important and that will bring higher requirements to the procedure and harder control.
Delegates from technical supervision agencies of Finland, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Belarus reported about results obtained after improvement of industrial safety legislations. Rushti Safarov, Director of Azerbaijan State Research Institute for Occupational Safety and Accident Prevention spoke about safety practices for offset oil and gas wells abandonment.
Denis Shulga, Head of HSE Department of State Unitary Enterprise of the Republic of Crimea “Chernomorneftegas” shared a unique experience of the enterprise merging into Russian legislative environment:
- Transition period after well-known events happened in Crimea was very short. Unfortunately, it was too short for our company and many others to fall in line with the Russian Federation legislation. Ukraine and Russia are quite different in terms of administrative support, especially speaking about industrial safety. According to the Ukrainian legislation, hazardous activities require no licensing. Hazardous equipment must be licensed only. Besides, internal experts and labs of an organization used to have a right for expertise and diagnostics. That was what we did. Our company did a great job and identified hazardous production facilities of class-I and II. We have submitted documents to the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision. Nowadays, we are in the process of licensing for operation of explosive facilities.
Detailed report about one of the most large-scale disasters in the coal mining sector was presented during the traditional section of the Forum dedicated to man-made accident analysis. Explosion and fire at the coal mine occurred on May 13, 2014 in Soma, Turkey. 787 coal miners were underground at the moment of explosion. 301 died, 122 were injured and 363 were saved. Ayhan Yüksel, Director of the Chamber of Mining Engineers, considers that involving sub-contractors was the main reason of the accident:
- Subcontractors didn’t have proper qualification. The problem is that occupation safety experts received their salary directly from the employer and could provide safety at a low level.
Ayhan Yüksel added that the legal procedure started several weeks ago. More that 45 persons are witnesses in the case. Besides, the prosecution office has initiated its own investigation.
Jeffrey Rosen, the President of Corona Environmental Consulting, presented the Elk River chemical spill case. More than 300 000 people in West Virginia were left without clean water due to the chemical spill affected local water sources:
- It is necessary to understand clearly what chemicals are stored near the water intake facilities. Supervision agencies should inspect tanks with stored chemicals. It is required to create a team of scientific consultants who are ready to response a large-scale chemical spill. Response plans are also required. We need to take care of the people’s health before the disaster occurs.
Several reports were focused on fire safety. Igor Titenok, Head of Firefighting, Emergency and Rescue Procedures Department of General Directorate of the Ministry for Emergency Situations in St.Petersburg, noted that there have been no serious industrial accidents for a long time in St.Petersburg:
- Speaking about tendencies, main problem of St.Petersburg is industrial fires. About three thousands of fires usually happen during a year. There have been practically no emergencies this year (two emergencies were registered in 2014 and three emergencies happened in 2013). The most serious emergency situation registered in St.Petersburg over the past years was gas explosion and the building collapse in Krasnogvardeisk district. Why we face practically no emergency situations? This is the result of preventive actions. St.Petersburg is a megapolis with a protection system. Of course, it is easier to prevent a fire that to fight with it, and then calculate losses. It is significant to note the emergency level reduction tendency. The forecast is positive.
Aleksey Moskalenko, Head of Risk Analysis Department in GCE Group, presented a comparative analysis of methodologies for identification of fuel-air mixture accidental detonation parameters. The expert has come to the conclusion that double interpretation of regulatory documents may lead to negative results. Very often operators of a facility don’t have clear understanding of the possible accident scale. Consequently, there is a possibility to manipulate ultimate data and to underestimate or overestimate forecasted consequences of an industrial accident.
Final sessions of the Forum were dedicated to hazardous cargo transportation. The Speakers came to a conclusion that we need accredited governmental centers for classification and identification of hazardous cargo. Besides, it is necessary to create a solid regulatory law. Next step is development and implementation of automated information system. The system should be classified by types of transported cargo, ways of response to negative effects of hazardous cargo and accident forecast practices. Monitoring of hazardous and other types of cargo transportation will help to avoid accidents. It is planned to develop methodological and training complexes for qualification of technical experts operating in the area of hazardous cargo transportation.