A Career in Process Safety: 50 Years of LPS

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 11, 2016
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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Drawing from a career from 1962 through 2016 in the chemical and process industries, this paper will describe some informal practices of process safety elements observed during the Master-Apprentice era of the 1960s.  The paper will trace the development of incident investigation, PHA (Process Hazard Analysis), and FTA (Fault Tree Analysis) tools used by the author.  

In 1990, when the author asked operators, mechanics, and engineers what they needed to do their jobs safely and to meet operational excellence objectives, they responded with the principles that were codified in the US PSM (process safety management) rule and later in the EPA RMP (risk management plan).  

The paper will touch on safety instrumented systems and the development of LOPA (Layer of Protection Analysis) to determine how strong the SIFs (safety instrumented systems) should be. 

Of course, the LPS (Loss Prevention Symposium) was there every year (the 50th is this meeting) with good papers on new techniques, new concepts, and reminders of what we used to know and have forgotten.  The author has been to many sessions and has contributed papers to quite a few. 

So with the regulations, the good practices, the good papers from LPS and the other symposia in the Global Congress on Process Safety, why isn’t our record any better?  

The paper observes: “the message of the budget has been heard throughout the globe, but the process safety message has not been heard to the same extent”.  Or, as Walt Howard said in an early LPS paper, “We Ain’t Farming as Good as We Know How.”  We have the tools, but we have to use them every day on every project.  We can identify the IPLs (independent protection layers), but we have to install them, maintain them, test them, and repair them.

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