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Process Safety, the Journey Is Most Important!

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 3, 2019
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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This paper will discuss process safety management work and the desired effects of employee participation and culture at all levels within the company.

PSM is viewed at some companies within the chemical process industry as primarily a compliance required costly effort. The goal within these companies is often to generate the required documents for compliance at the least possible cost. This approach is a self-fulfilling prophecy which supports the following incorrect assumptions:

  • The plant already is as safe as economically feasible
  • PSM is a costly government program with little benefits
  • That strict adherence to existing operating procedures will solely prevent PSM incidents
  • That the “shop floor” employees have little to contribute or gain from PSM participation.

The journey of creating the PSM documents is often a much more effective tool than the document that is produced. The operators, maintenance technicians, engineers and possibly managers (assuming they sit in on a few hours the PHA meetings) that participate on a PHA or a PSI review will gain knowledge that cannot be obtained from normal steady state operation of unit. Further many decades of experience will likely not exposed employees to all the potentially hazardous events that are possible. Just the knowledge of how the process will respond to every possible instrument and mechanical failure will provide training beyond what could be feasible in a dynamic process simulator. Both young and experienced engineers will gain process knowledge and very useful engineering knowledge through the proper analysis of potential hazardous events. This knowledge and skills can be applied to various engineering efforts. If these examples are not enough, the credibility of management’s commitment to a safe operation of the facility will be largely enhanced (or potentially destroyed) by their response findings from throughout the PSM efforts within the company.

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