Where Process Safety Must Move

Global Congress on Process Safety
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 29, 2013 - 11:30am-12:00pm


Process safety has long embodied the adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Despite the development of sophisticated technical and management systems in recent decades, major catastrophic incidents continue to occur. Study of these events show us that the technical failures that led to these events were in fact enabled by organizational failures. Yet process safety systems too often exist in isolation from the wider organization, and indeed from other safety activities themselves. In order to achieve next-level improvement, catastrophic event prevention must move from its position of sole (or disproportionate) focus on the safety technical and management systems to a comprehensive focus that encompasses the broader elements of organizational safety as well. This talk presents the problem facing process safety practitioners today and outlines seven principles that can guide leaders both in aligning the organization to support process safety functioning and in assuring the integrity of process safety systems themselves.

Application: The development of integrated safety systems

Results, Observations, Conclusions: Seven principles for successfully integrating process safety with the organization

Significance of Subject Matter: The study of prominent catastrophic events of the past several years has shown that technical failures are enabled by organizational failures. Learning how to align process safety with organizational functioning is a critical first step to avoiding technical errors.

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