What Is Risk-Based Inspection?
Risk Based inspection (RBI) is a process of creating an inspection strategy based on the nature of the workplace and risk assessments done. This is an effective and powerful tool that can bring benefits such as operational cost savings and reduced downtime when used correctly.
This type of inspection is usually conducted in manufacturing industries, power plants, and food sectors. That is why risk-based inspection standards depend on potential risks caused by machine corrosion, structural degradation, and food contamination.
Over the years of government agencies and companies working together to develop risk-based inspection standards, it has been proven that using a team-based approach is one of the good practices when creating a risk-based inspection. That is why it is essential to build an excellent risk-based inspection team.
In this article, the following points are explained:
How to Develop a Risk-Based Inspection
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the United Kingdom, four processes are involved when developing a risk-based inspection program: defining the system, qualitative risk assessment, quantitative risk analysis, and program development. Below are the details of each process.
1. Defining the System
The first process is defining the system, which means accurately describing the scope of the risk-based inspection procedure. And this involves taking into account several aspects such as the primary objectives, number of facilities, number of equipment, available resources, the allowable timeframe, the complexity of the work, and any risk discrimination.
Carefully considering these aspects when making a risk-based inspection procedure will ensure that the inspection program created will be effective. This will also ensure that other uncertainties in the system will be identified and reduced.
2. Qualitative Risk Assessment
According to HSE, qualitative risk assessment involves analysis and making judgments based on the probability and consequence of each risk found in the workplace.
To create a qualitative risk assessment, the first step is to analyze what types of risks are present and then rank them according to how significant their impact will be in the workflow.
For example, let’s say that an old commercial establishment has its substation. Consider all the possible risks it may face, such as the failure of old circuit breakers in the switchgear, insulation failure of transformers, or defective pilot lights.
Then, for each of these possible component failures, consider how severe its effect will be on the establishment’s operation, such as sales, functionality, and reputation. And then, create a chart with a level scale that represents the severity of each problem concerning the operations.
The next step is to assess how high the probability of listed individual failures depends on available data. Finally, create a matrix combining the severity scale and the probability scale, which will be used in the subsequent step-quantitative risk analysis.
3. Quantitative Risk Analysis
Quantitative risk analysis involves using the data from the qualitative risk assessment and using a mathematical approach to calculate a number representing how high its priority should be in a quantitative risk-based inspection.
In simple analytical models, this is done by multiplying the scale levels from the probability and consequence matrix. But for more complex workplaces, the HSE recommends using a fully detailed Failure Modes Effects Criticality Analysis (FMECA) for a quantitative risk-based inspection.
4. Program Development
The final stage is developing a program to address the previously risk-based inspection procedure’s studied risks. This involves listing all the applicable techniques and strategies to remove or mitigate each risk. It also involves deciding on the frequency of applying each plan and strategy.
Generally, the methods under program development fall under these categories:
- Removal, decommissioning, or deletion of a hazard
- Further inspections and repairs
- Consequence mitigation (This involves lessening the impact caused by risks)
- Probability mitigation (This consists in lowering the chances of risks from happening)
Building a Proper Team for Risk-Based Inspection
Like what we’ve mentioned earlier, it has been long proven that a team-based approach is the best for conducting a risk-based inspection. And the primary reason for this is that an individual doesn’t have all the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to do all the processes involved.
Below are two essential considerations for creating a proper team for risk-based inspection based on the recommendations from HSE.
1. Composition and Competencies
The first consideration is that the team should be composed of members with the appropriate competencies. This means that every team member should have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to significantly improve the efficiency and quality of the conducted risk-based inspection. Depending on the situation, it is also recommended that the team composition has varying specializations on various disciplines.
It is also recommended that each member have a regular training schedule regarding RBI techniques, methods, and software, especially for contractors that offer RBI services.
2. Role and Responsibilities of the Team Leader
A good team should have a team leader. The team leader will be in charge of all the aspects of the operation and have to fulfill the responsibilities listed below:
- Lead the team in creating a risk-based inspection plan that addresses all the found risks.
- Verification that all team members have the right competencies to conduct a risk-based inspection.
- Ensuring that all data gathered are correct, accurate, and well documented.
- Creating the risk-based inspection report and distributing copies to stakeholders.
- Ensuring that all mitigation plans designed are implemented and documented.
Digitize Checklists for Streamlining Risk-Based Inspections
Risk-based inspections provide better insights into the condition of assets by optimizing inspection schedules and using resources more efficiently. To further enhance the benefits of this inspection strategy, inspectors can take a closer look at their processes by moving to digital checklists and continuously identifying opportunities for improvement.
Digitizing eliminates confusing paper trails for companies and improves their overall inspection process. Engineers can rely on Lumiform’s powerful mobile app and desktop software to accomplish this task. Here’s how the digital app benefits risk-based inspections:
- Creation of smart, digital checklists for risk-based plant inspection in minutes to perform quantitative risk assessments.
- Update templates at any time using the flexible form builder with just a few clicks.
- Take photos and add notes to explain the results of risk-based inspections.
- Corrective actions can be assigned to the appropriate colleague with a priority level and due date. Via the dashboard, the actions are displayed in the order of their implementation.
- Reports are automatically generated after each inspection and exported as PDF, CSV, Excel and Word files.
- All data can be easily analyzed via the dashboard. This enables faster discovery of where action is needed.
- It is no more losing important data, as everything from the risk-based inspection is automatically stored in unlimited cloud storage.