With an ever growing interest in the safety, health and environmental performances of organisations across the industries, today's responsible businesses are committed to the conservation of workplace safety and health, as well as the environment.

In Oil Spill Response, risk assessment (RA) is an integral part of the Safety Management System and pivotal to operational safety. RA is used to address hazards and risks to our staff, contractors, and the large number of industry delegates subscribing to our training courses annually.

Over the years, the approach to RA has constantly evolved. While the concept is not foreign, a lack of common understanding on how risk assessment should be applied has limited the purpose for which it is meant. Following a recent in-depth review of the existing process, the methodology for risk assessment underwent a major revamp. Central to this review is the need for a coherent approach to the conduct of RA across all levels of the organisation.

The outcome of the study signifies a step change in the approach to risk assessment, with an ensuing framework that is more rigorous and comprehensive. Aligned to approach taken by leading organisations in the Oil and Gas industry, hazards and risks to people, environment, assets and reputation are addressed using defined sets of criteria.

This paper will outline key challenges in the conduct of RA, and the different considerations when reviewing the approach to managing operational hazards and risks. The corresponding build-up of a framework to administer the process, and to support the communication of risks, coupled with the implementation of risk control measures and post-activity review, will also be discussed, with an intention to highlight how management commitment and visibility is demonstrated through its application.

Lastly, the paper will explain the practical application of the revised methodology, taking in view the diverse environments that spill responders would be required to work in.

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