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Did you know that it is possible to facilitate risk analysis workshops and reviews through virtual meetings?

Did you know that it is possible to facilitate risk analysis workshops and reviews through virtual meetings?

There is no need to stop or postpone risk management and assessment work due to the challenging times caused by Covid-19 when face-to-face workshops are forbidden. In fact, it is even more important to proceed with risk analysis and consider the kind of unforeseen event we are facing now from the point of view of operation management. Having virtual workshops and meetings requires much from the participants but even more from the facilitator. Many of us have been forced to work from home, and the majority of our meetings are held virtually. Our Health and Safety team has also been facilitating and leading various virtual risk analyses during recent weeks.

Challenges can arise when, for example, risk analyses are conducted remotely, but the last few weeks have also shown that it is entirely doable when certain points are kept in mind. AFRY Process Industry HSE specialists have been facilitating several HAZOPs, HAZIDs, explosion risk assessments (ATEX), safety integrity level (SIL) and machinery safety risk assessments (EN ISO 12100) remotely during the recent weeks. We want to share some tips for conducting successful virtual risks assessment workshops:

  1. Ensure that all attendees are prepared and aware of the target of the day or which nodes should be completed.
    • Introduce the method, practicalities, desired outcome and schedule at the beginning of the analysis. Having team members turn on their cameras and introduce themselves is a good starting point.
    • A short briefing by experts before every node/area is important. Ensure that all material needed in the analysis can be remotely accessed during the analysis.
    • Divide and share nodes before analysis. Arrange a short preparation meeting before the analysis to ensure that all team members are on the same page regarding the scope.
  1. Having only one voice channel requires coordination.
    • The facilitator should be prepared to be more active and encourage the involvement of all participants.
    • The facilitator should make sure that every member of the team can participate in the discussion and know that they can comment when needed.
  1. Take regular breaks to ensure productivity.
    • The ability to concentrate is known to falter during continuous work, so take regular, short (5–10 min) breaks at least once per 1,5 hours of work.
    • Additionally, do not underestimate the importance of dedicating the lunch break to eating and relaxation only.
  2. Hold meetings in spaces that work and with technology that performs.
    • Ensure that you have the required peace for facilitation. Also, be aware of ergonomics.
    • Check internet connectivity and familiarise yourself with the connection application used beforehand.
  1. Utilise pictures/videos during analysis if you are analysing an existing plant.


All of the above are key elements in face-to-face meetings, but require extra attention in virtual assessments to achieve a focused and productive analysis. Another key factor is also the facilitator's expertise in the methods and facilitation. With technical background, our experts will understand the features and functions of the client's processes and plants, and our team is using special risk analysis software, which enables both efficient facilitation and the recording of analysis workshops.

Find out more about our Health and Safety services:

Anna Savunen - Head of Global HSE Services

Anna Savunen

Head of Global HSE Services

Contact Anna Savunen

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