A Guideline for the Dynamic Barrier Management Framework Based on System Thinking
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Accident investigations in process industry indicate that inadequate barrier management has been one of the main causes of many major accidents. Barriers degrade over time and at different rates, and these degradations may gradually and unnoticeably drift the system towards a state of high risk. Conventional barrier management approaches apply fixed inspection and maintenance intervals with little direct influence on daily operations to evaluate safety barriers performance. Such issues are addressed by the dynamic barrier management (DBM) concept through the combination of all available information, such as inspection, preventive maintenance, audit, sensors, process control, and near misses or incident records. DBM main goal is to infer barrier status in near real-time and evaluate its impact on risk level. However, the framework for DBM is not detailed and easy to implement and therefore requires further development to clarify the steps. An approach based on system thinking is suggested. Systems engineering (SE) is a suitable approach for managing complex problems by considering the big picture and the SPADE framework from SE is applied to provide a practical roadmap for DBM.