Parameters based on the occurrence of occupational accidents are often used as the main performance indicator for HES matters by industry and authorities. While this indicator is important, it fails to provide real insight into mechanisms that will determine the risk for major accidents. The objective of the paper is to present a monitoring scheme for major hazards, and to report how such a scheme has been effective in focusing on major hazard risk for several years within the petroleum industry. The potential however, is that it also could be applied to projection of trends by the authorities. The experience with derivation of suitable performance indicators for potential major accidents is discussed for the most critical systems and functions, reflecting qualitative as well as quantitative risk assessments. The indicators should address status feedback for safety systems, barriers and functions, emergency preparedness actions and drills and important operational prerequisites. If many indicators are used, the oversight may be lost, and overall trends may be difficult to spot. Accumulation of the individual parameters into an overall performance indicator for major hazards may be one solution, in order to enable observation of overall trends. The practical experience with such an overall indicator for some years demonstrates significant reduction of major hazard risk.
Extensive data collection exercises has revealed that the assessment and trend analysis by authorities of the major hazard risk is not as systematic and comprehensive as one would expect. A possible furtherance of the approach developed for the major hazard monitoring within the industry is proposed to give the basis for across industry monitoring and trend analysis, based on occurrence rates of critical gas and oil leaks, mobilisations of the emergency preparedness teams, ships on threatening collision course, falling objects and safety barriers (of escalation) falling below performance standards or requirements. Illustrations of possible results are illustrated by the data from the studies already performed.