Dynamic barrier management fits within the overall framework of life-cycle risk management since it is related to adopting a comprehensive approach to safety where effective barriers are firstly established to prevent or mitigate the impact of accidents and, secondly, these are continuously monitored to ensure that risks are being adequately controlled.
This comprehensive approach can be realised through parametric modelling of barriers and their integration within tools to fully exploit optimisation potential (including barrier system identification, their underlying elements and relative importance as well as defining a set of key safety indicators for critical barrier systems guided by the collection of data for major accident categories, ie fire, flooding).
Prior to delving into details, it is essential that the risk profile of ships is determined and regularly observed.
In addition, the propagation and aggregation of risk in the barrier structure needs to be investigated – real-time risk (performance) at system level – and then how this knowledge can be used to construct a global model for governing the vessel’s complete life-cycle risk.
In this respect, model harmonisation plays a paramount role for guaranteeing consistent application and the whole concept can be seen as step-change for managing major accident hazards/threats.
Furthermore, methodologies for the actual testing and monitoring of systems need to be in place in order to ensure that barrier operation is as expected in both normal and abnormal (including emergency) conditions.
This way, it is demonstrated and confirmed that the design process has evolved the anticipated system functionality.
A core element is the determination of involved uncertainty (ie data confidence, modelling assumptions, safety margins, sensor fiscal performance, etc.) through tool validation and benchmarking, assisted by the available data, to reflect also the potential scale of consequences for increasing vessel size.