Offshore structures such as oil rigs are often hazardous areas in their entirety, to a greater or lesser degree, as an incident anywhere on the structure can have serious consequences for human life, financial and structural losses.

In a newly published article in CE Papers, a collection of conference papers in civil engineering, researchers look at categorising the types of accidental scenarios that can occur on offshore structures, not only with the risk of fatalities and extensive structural damage, but also smaller scale financial losses due to operational downtime.

They note that it is often not a direct incident that leads to the end effects, but that there can be a stage in between that exacerbates the situation.

“The most devastating effects on offshore platforms are often the result of incidents which eventually lead to accidental actions,” they write. “Hence it is very important to develop measures which limit the effects of accidental actions on the overall performance of these facilities.”

This is where hazardous area equipment can play an important role, reducing the risk of an incident while also preventing it from being worsened due to accidental actions.

Some of the examples given in the article include systems to prevent the spread of fires, and ventilation to dispel clouds of flammable gas, along with physical barriers and shelters against fire and explosion.

By installing such precautions, along with any other hazardous area equipment suited to the operation of the structure, the operators of offshore installations can protect personnel and profits at the same time – a best of both worlds solution.