A Temporary Refuge (TR) provides an important component of safety on an offshore platform and most offshore safety cases attribute high availability and survivability of the TR as a key component in establishing an acceptable risk profile for the installation. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines the TR as: "a place where personnel can muster safely in an emergency, monitor and assess the developing situation, and either take control action or initiate evacuation".
The Energy Institute (EI) Process Safety Committee (PSC) recently identified that there was no standard testing procedure available to offshore operators which would allow a uniform approach to TR testing and validation. Different operators and test organisations have different testing methods and validation standards which they apply to determine whether a TR provides appropriate protection. The EI therefore commissioned MMI Engineering Ltd (MMI) to help a dedicated PSC Sub-group write a new guideline for the TR integrity testing.
In writing the guideline the group has liaised with a number of offshore operators and test organisations, and reviewed similar guidance documents which are currently used internationally and in related industries (e.g. building services). From this a testing procedure was developed which brings together the best current practices and is bespoke to TRs in an offshore environment; this forms the core of the new guidance