Barrier Management Monitoring System | AIChE

Barrier Management Monitoring System


Sousa, M. - Presenter, University of Colorado Boulder
Lima, M. A., Braskem

The purpose of Barrier Management System is to establish and maintain barriers so that the risk at any given time can be managed by preventing an undesirable incident from occurring or by limiting its consequences should such an incident occur.

Safety Barrier Management is an important activity in the chemical industry. Barriers can be hardware (e.g. relief valves), human (e.g. procedures) or a combination of both (e.g. manually actuated systems). Barriers should be fully functional after installation and commissioning leading to a risk exposure as per design requirements. However, barriers will degrade through the time and these degradations will increase risk exposure. Some barrier failures can increase risk dramatically. Conventional barrier management will focus on fixed barrier inspection and maintenance intervals with the intent to return these to its original functionality. A better model for a barrier management system needs to use all available information in real-time to improve the barrier management and reduce risk exposure as much as possible.

Safety Barriers against major accident hazards have always been in use in the chemical industry, but some major accidents have led to an increased focus on how these barriers are identified, designed and maintained in the industry. As stated by IEC 61.511:2017, “safety instrumented systems (SISs) have been used for many years to perform safety

instrumented functions (SIFs) in the process industries. If instrumentation is to be effectively used for SIFs, it is essential that this instrumentation achieves certain minimum standards and performance levels”. Therefore, it is paramount for any organization to assess, understand and develop proper barrier management to reduce risk exposure, prevent major accidents and achieve operational excellence.

This paper will present Braskem's Safety Barrier Monitoring System, which have being developed in the last 2 years and some of its success histories. The system performs effective Barrier Monitoring, by capturing information from different systems (e.g. SAP, Maximo, PIMS, Jump Book, etc) necessary to assess the status of all barriers and deliver real time monitoring of barrier health and the overall company and/or plant risk exposure. The system is allowing Braskem to transform Braskem's Risk Scenario Management process, using a real-time monitoring tool for all Safety Barriers into Industrial Units.

Braskem’s Barrier Monitoring System has the following characteristics:

  • Real time monitoring and information management
  • Overview of all sites, plants and units
  • Risk aggregation and drill down capabilities
  • Traceability and historical analysis
  • Simulation capabilities related to barrier availability and scenario characteristics (probability and consequence)
  • Automatic alerts and reports
  • Fully integrated with SAP, MAXIMO, Jump Book, DCS, PLC and PIMS

These system characteristics allowed Braskem to strength its Risk Management Process, while allowing quicker identification of undesired situations and quick response to rectify such cases.

The Barrier Monitoring System has two major groups of users: 1) users who are in the office and do the analysis, and support Operations and Maintenance - Asset Integrity, HSE and Process Safety professionals who ensure that barriers are healthy at any given point in time; 2) users who are at the frontline and perform day-to-day production-related work - Operations and Maintenance, who ensure the plant is run safely and with optimum input, maintaining barriers and using the latest safety information and diagrams in doing so.

Until this moment several benefits were identified for the system implementation, they are:

  • Real-time condition to the process safety barriers (available, unavailable, potentially compromised or undetermined);
  • Real-time condition to the process safety scenarios: intact (current risk according to the risk foreseen in the risk studies) or degraded (risk above that foreseen in the risk studies);
  • Facilitate/expedite the decision process for barriers/scenarios momentarily outside of normal/desired conditions;
  • Information of the integrity management processes for the different types of barriers available and with easy/quick access in a single platform/system;
  • Increased engagement and level of knowledge on the topic 'Process Safety' for technical people and leaders involved with the system;
  • Strengthening integration and multidisciplinary team work.

So far, the system is being tested in one operational plant and under different implementation stages in other Braskem plants. As per actual experience, the system is presenting great performance and value. The system has allowed Braskem to identify and rectify some undesirable conditions, which would have impacted adversely our Risk Exposure some of these examples will be presented within this paper.


This paper has an Extended Abstract file available; you must purchase the conference proceedings to access it.


Do you already own this?



AIChE Members $150.00
AIChE Emeritus Members $105.00
Employees of CCPS Member Companies $150.00
AIChE Graduate Student Members Free
AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free
Non-Members $225.00