In a recent interview with Wood Based Panels International, Thermal Fluid Solutions’ managing director, Richard Franklin, explained how the company’s risk-management expertise benefits its wood panel manufacturing industry customers.
So much of what he said relates to other areas of the process industry, whether it be food or petro-chemical. This being the case, here are some of his key points. Whichever area of the process industry you work in, we’re sure you’ll find them useful.
“A large part of our business essentially consists of managing and reducing risk. Wood based panel makers are experts in making panels; they are not necessarily experts at how to handle and reduce the risk of high pressure, and very hot, oil escaping. A large part of the service that we offer is knowing how to monitor, handle and reduce risk, and passing on that knowledge.
“We began developing our expertise in Europe around the year 2000, when the ATEX (Atmosphère Explosible) regulations came in. These directives required operators whose work involved potentially explosive atmospheres to develop risk assessments.
“The directives were designed for the petro-chemical world. It had not been foreseen that for many operators, such as the food industry, the hazard was limited to just one part of their operations. Users were getting a raw deal because they were expected to be expert in areas not their own.
“The standard industry way of establishing best practice is by precedent: look at an incident and learn from it so that it does not happen again. It is industry-led, and it works, but it is reactive. One of my biggest customers, Norbord, looked at it and said, “Can we get better at this? Can we reduce the process risk and do it proactively?”.
“So that is what we do. The reality is that risk has to be made visible. So we work to pass on our knowledge to the people operating the equipment and ultimately, the site itself. We pass on our knowledge of risk to the customer and help them to know how to handle those risks.
“The combination of our experts, the operator’s on-site expertise, and passing our knowledge to the operators is what counts. Regulations now require operators to take ownership of risk. If they do not understand the risks, they are understandably afraid of doing that. That is where we step in.”
For more information on how Thermal Fluid Solutions can help you to manage your risk, please contact our team on 01298 815862.