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A demonstrative example : PRIMARISK®

An example of such a resource platform is illustrated by PRIMARISK® , developed by INERIS, as demonstrated below. This platform was tested and is available since 2006 in restricted access format (a power point presentation gives an overview of how it looks like : Media:primarisk.ppt). It will be freely available to the public at the end of its development. The following paragraph is extracted from Debray et al, Knowledge management and major industrial hazards : an integrated approach, Proceedings of the 28th ESReDA Seminar, Karlstad, Sweden, June 14-15, 2005 (Media:Debray.pdf).

  • Context

The reflection that followed the Toulouse 2001 accident has stressed the fact that there was an urgent need for a coherent and trustable information about industrial hazards. This is true for the public who needs to be informed about the surrounding risks but it is also, and all the more, true for the industrial operators who have the responsibility to assess the risk and take the necessary provisions to reduce it, the workers who face the risk everyday and the competent authorities, in charge of the control. With this context in mind, INERIS is developing a series of tools for the knowledge management in the context of industrial major hazards. The aim is to make accessible the right information to the right person at the right moment. For this purpose, it is necessary to clearly analyse the needs of the different actors of industrial risks management and then to propose the structure of the system that will support and make the knowledge available. The paper from Debray et al presents the results of this preliminary analysis. It describes the first features of the system developed in the framework of this project, PRIMARISK®, and illustrates how it was built in a fully integrated approach of knowledge management. PRIMARSIK® is not only a way to make different models and data available but it is also a way to provide the structure for future capitalisation of the knowledge.

  • Specific risk assessment process

At the end of its development, PRIMARISK® will describe several risk assessment processes related to industrial hazards. The first risk assessment process to be implemented in PRIMARISK® is the safety report of a hazardous industrial plant. It involves the following steps : **Description of the plant;

    • identification of the hazardous pieces of equipment;
    • Selection of the pertinent equipment;
    • Risk analysis;
    • Identification of the safety barriers;
    • Assessment of the consequences of accidents;
    • Definition of the safety control and requirements for the safety management system.

Each of these steps mobilises a specific knowledge. The description of the process is explicit but the understanding of which models, tools and data to use is more of a tacit type. The expertise lies in the ability to use the right model for a given hazardous situation. It lies also in the capacity to understand the results of the process. Therefore, the first step of knowledge description involved the description of the risk assessment process. To ease the understanding, a logical decomposition was decided. The risk assessment process is composed of steps. Each step involves the fulfilment of tasks. In PRIMARISK®, each steps is described in terms of objectives. The relevant legislative texts are given together with other reference text, when they exist. Then the tasks are listed. Each of them is described and linked with useful resources.

  • Resources
    The resources can be of three main types :
    • Local resources : PRIMARISK® lists the elements of information that the person in charge of the risk assessment has to obtain from the plant operator such as the maps or process instrumentation diagrams.
    • General resources : these are the resources available elsewhere that the user should consults to obtain useful information. Most of these resources are available online from other web sites. Among these are databases, documentation etc.
    • Specific resources available directly from PRIMARISK®: These are tools and databases that were developed specially for being made accessible through PRIMARISK®. Figure 2 in the paper from Debray et al. shows the general structure of PRIMARISK®. The core system was implemented on a database and establishes the link with classical web pages and more specific online software.

  • Risk analysis methods and support tools

PRIMARISK® provides descriptions of some methods as well as support tools, check lists, tables etc. A decision support tool for the choice of an appropriate method is also proposed. The selection involves the type of process to be analysed, the complexity of the method, the depth of the analysis or the integrated aspect of the analysis. A second development step will lead to the building of a complete risk analysis support tool dedicated to the management of the data collected during risk analysis. The tools presently proposed in PRIMARISK® are mostly mathematical models for the assessment of the consequences of accidents. Beyond, PRIMARISK® also aims at providing the expertise in the selection of the appropriate model for a given situation. A decision support tool was developed. It classifies the various models according to the type of phenomena, the physical state of the substance involved, the type of effect of interest. For each configuration, a pertinence level is defined together with the validity limits of the model and most typical assumptions. PRIMARISK® also contains its own chemical substances database which directly provides the needed data to the models. One of the aims of making the knowledge available is to allow for a better debate among the stakeholders. The system could be used further as a true support tool for the debate between the technical stakeholders and the public actors. Multicriteria decision systems could be proposed to establish the priorities in land-use planning, for example. The system would not provide a predefined decision grid but rather help the users defining their own and, by this way, progressing in their definition of risk acceptance. GIS tools for the representation of risk zones around industrial sites could be also proposed.

  • Towards a true knowledge management

The elements presented in the previous paragraphs, the structure and the content of the resource platform constitute a first step towards the implementation of a knowledge management system for the control of major accidental hazards. The four stages of the implementation of a knowledge management system is described in figure 3 of Debray’s et al paper.

  • Primarisk versus Intarese

To conclude on PRIMARISK®, the first stage involves the formalisation of the expert knowledge into documents made accessible on a web site. The second stage is dedicated to the conversion of these documents into tools and databases to constitute the base of a resource platform. The third and fourth stage involve the sharing of knowledge by the potential PRIMARISK® users: administration, plant operators, consulting firms. As a result, the essence of the Primarisk process, even if restricted to major industrial risks, is not so far than the essence of the Intarese process and seems to be a good demonstrative example which could help providing the major steps needed in the development of the Intarese toolbox functionalities and identifying major obstacles (legal aspects…). Comment : IT team at INERIS would be the good persons to make the link in between the two programs and could be involved before the end of WP4.1 and in WP4.2 depending on resource constraints.