Becoming a Great Process Safety Leader

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 2, 2014
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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Leaders play a critical role in catastrophic event prevention through their effect on culture. At least one cultural factor was a root cause alongside process safety management failures in ten of the most recent incidents investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. What do leaders need to do to ensure their culture fully supports process safety excellence?

This presentation covers the four basic leadership competencies essential to success in process safety:

  1. Have the conviction to lead safety. Process safety leaders with a strong personal value for safety can navigate their teams through the noise that might otherwise create complacency or desensitization
  2. Understand how process safety works. Effective process safety leaders continually discuss exposure and risk and use metrics to provide feedback to their teams. A leader doesn’t need to be an expert on safety, but she does need to know enough to detect patterns, assess information, and ask the right questions.
  3. Possess (and practice) great leadership skills. Effective safety leaders share common practices such as vision, credibility, communication, collaboration, feedback, action orientation, and accountability. What leaders emphasize and reinforce determines how people respond to events, how they make decisions, and whether they carry out the objectives of the organization.
  4. Have the ability to influence people. Great leaders use a transformational style to engage people in the work. Process safety leaders must enable people to do the things that execute process safety systems reliably, detect weak signals, question assumptions, and intervene when necessary.


Learning objectives

Participants learn:

  • Why leaders are essential to effective catastrophic event prevention
  • Four essential qualities of a process safety leader: How these qualities support a great process safety culture
  • How to identify your own personal value for safety and connect it to your day-to-day activities
  • Seven best practices of great safety leaders: What they look like and how to develop them


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