The Obvious-to-Obscure Process Safety Checklist for Plant Engineers

Global Congress on Process Safety
2011 Global Congress on Process Safety
Global Congress on Process Safety
March 14, 2011 - 8:00pm

The recent process safety performance of the energy industry has led to scrutiny of industry and company-specific process safety standards, guidelines, and best practices. Several elements of process safety focus directly on the knowledge-base and experience of a facility's workforce. Plant engineers are required to participate in and lead various elements of a facility's process safety management program (e.g. management of change reviews, process hazards analyses, and mechanical integrity program implementation). Although plant engineers have an undergraduate degree in their technical field of choice, few have any formal training or recognized credential in the field of process safety. Furthermore, few companies have implemented a formal competency assessment and technical authorization program. Without such training and competency verification requirements, the authors contend that a greater likelihood exists for human error in the administration of a facility's process safety program.

This paper provides a safe operating window for engineers of all experience levels on process safety protocols and pitfalls. The advice and information shared in this paper are direct lessons from assignments as plant engineers, technical consultants, and business owners. The content is divided into the following four categories:

1. The Obvious - information, knowledge, and responsibilities conveyed through schooling and company's technical on-boarding process.

2. The Potentially Obvious - information, knowledge, and responsibilities conveyed through training from entry-level to mid-level engineer.

3. The Potentially Obscure - information, knowledge, and responsibilities conveyed through training from mid-level to senior-level engineer.

4. The Obscure - information, knowledge, and responsibilities conveyed through advanced/expert training, application, and experience.

The target audience for this paper includes plant managers, business unit managers, project managers, plant engineers, EH&S managers, PSM coordinators, and operators; however, anyone involved with plant operations may benefit from this paper.

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