Ensuring safety through proactive engineering
When it comes to mitigating risk, safety is always a top priority, regardless of the industry. In the case of a client with electrical plant facilities in South America, TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants (GRC)’s Latin American Account Engineering Team identified fire protection deficiencies that had been previously overlooked and dedicated a year of work to communicating and following-up on addressing these deficiencies.
Despite insurers previously overlooking the issues, TÜV SÜD GRC’s engineers noticed serious problems related to inadequate water supplies within the facilities. The account engineers relayed the findings to the top risk managers for the first time, who promptly asked the team to prioritize the issues. This proactive response helped create a regional action plan, with follow-up’s consistently in progress.
Water pumps are critical in attaining and controlling fires, thus limiting the extent of damages. Understanding the criticality of operating, adequate water supplies is key to preventing disaster, and all facilities inspected had serious issues concerning inadequately sized and/or malfunctioning fire pumps. Understanding this, TÜV SÜD GRC began a program for annual field testing of all pumps, and other areas that were related to issues within the sites.
In multiple reports throughout a year of work, TÜV SÜD GRC identified key concerns and their causes, including fire pump adequacy, reliability, installation mistakes, and operational problems. TÜV SÜD GRC also identified fifteen active human element areas that had an impact on the problem. TÜV SÜD GRC provided statistics identifying the main action areas, communicating the priority and where investments would be needed. These areas included:
Based on these reports and further recommendations, the client not only became aware of the issue, but was also able to create an investment plan for corrective actions.
Any uncontrolled fire in any of these facilities would have resulted in a catastrophic loss, given the large property and business interruption values involved. Moreover, this proactive response sent a very positive message to the company’s insurers panel. This case perfectly exemplifies the various groups within TÜV SÜD GRC’s adding value to a loss control engineering program. All teams worked in tandem to identify the problems, communicate, and foster client relationships. The end results were safer plants and a better understanding of risk that will assist the client with a better placement of the market, and avoidance of losses.
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