Iran Review 2017

O’ Gara ... industrial cleaning is a dynamic field

O’ Gara ... industrial cleaning is a dynamic field

Self-regulating committee eyed for industrial cleaning

Application of unequivocal guidelines will improve safe work conditions in the GCC and beyond, notes Frank O’Gara, managing director of Bahrain-based SNSI, a leader in manufacturing high-capacity vacuum loading equipment like the Fluid Vacuator

Although stakeholders of oil and gas companies are spending enormously to make their on-site activities safe, healthy and in compliance with environmental and governmental regulations, statistical data on the number of fatalities, workplace injuries and absence show that occupational hazards are still staggering.

The Department of Industrial Management, Center for Safety at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland along with Workplace Safety and Health Institute, Singapore and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland conducted a research on global estimates of occupational accidents and fatal work-related diseases.

It was estimated that 2.3 million deaths are registered annually across the countries for reasons attributed to occupational hazards. The biggest mortality was due to occupational injuries but what goes unnoticed is the manifold of accidents with permanent disability.

Studies have revealed that an important type of fatality that occurred within the oil and gas industry was due to accidents involving industrial cleaning and transportation of hazardous and flammable products. The sector is acknowledging the risks of such activities, nevertheless it has a sensitive nature.

Industrial cleaning is a dynamic field - activities involve often high-pressure water, vacuum power, chemical products, working in confined spaces and even breathe protection equipment. Therefore, it needs to be monitored to encourage the development of appropriate equipment and suitable working methods, says Frank O’Gara, managing director of Bahrain-based Sarens Nass Smet Industries (SNSI).

The cluster of industrial cleaning services includes various stakeholders including end-users (refineries, chemical plants, tank storage facilities etc), contractors (industrial cleaning companies), manufacturers (high pressure vacuum loading equipment, PPE’s, cleaning chemicals etc) and government organisations that regulate standards, compliance, and safe working conditions.

It is imperative that all stakeholders work together with a common objective: promote and regulate safe working in industrial cleaning. In order to achieve this goal, the formation of a non-profit organisation is on the cards - Committee Regulating Industrial cleaning (CRIC), he says.

Membership in CRIC would be open to the industrial cleaning services cluster. The aim of CRIC is to promote safe working conditions, combine and protect the interests of a unique composition of stakeholders from the industrial cleaning services cluster in the GCC and the Middle East as well.

CRIC’s spheres of activity would cover high pressure water jetting, pressure vacuum cleaning, chemical and technical cleaning and respiratory protection – life support units. Its main objectives would be to prevent unsafe working situations through creating a regional interest group to regulate industrial cleaning; encouraging standardisation of operational procedures; formulating guidelines for safe working methods; engaging third-party inspection bodies to ensure compliance; and stimulating development of safe equipment, he explains.

CRIC would ensure safe working through an integrated approach where one has a ‘competent workforce’ resulting from education, training, examinations and certification; periodical inspections and tests for ‘equipment’; and inspection bodies which ensure compliance of guidelines.

The advantage of being a CRIC member is that all possible risks can be acknowledged, discussed, archived and appropriate guidelines can be agreed on and accepted by all parties. The implementation process can be formulated and regularly adapted to the latest developments in the trade. Affiliated members will sign a policy statement and undertake to observe and implement the guidelines.

CRIC is under patronage of Stichting Industriële Reiniging (SIR), an industrial cleaning foundation that was formed in Europe in 1989 with the aim to promote and regulate safe working in industrial cleaning.

SIR serves as an example of how effective self-regulation can be as regards safety in the industrial cleaning sector in Europe. CRIC aims to be the Middle Eastern version of SIR to promote self-regulation in industrial cleaning in the region.

CRIC works towards formulating and implementing guidelines in cooperation with all parties of the cluster in the Middle East. Participation of all stakeholders would ensure that developments in the fields of activity are incorporated into regulations, training courses and inspections so that a balanced result can always be achieved, which is accepted by all.

Guidelines/standards formulated will be uniform and apply to entire cluster of industrial cleaning in the Middle East. CRIC guidelines will be unequivocal in their applications and will reduce unsafe situations to a minimum, adds O’Gara.

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