Building Process Safety Culture Tool Kit | AIChE

Building Process Safety Culture ToolKit

Last updated March 4, 2021

Tools to Enhance Process Safety Performance


As the complex technical and managerial  discipline of process safety has matured, our ability to analyze and assert control over adverse outcomes has reached to deeper and deeper levels.  At first, we sought to assess blame on the parties causing accidents: the operator who didn’t follow procedure, the engineer who chose the wrong material of construction, or the supervisor who botched the work safety permit.  Later, we learned to question management systems; were the procedures in fact possible to follow, was the engineer given enough time and resources to  choose the correct material, or did the supervisor received adequate training?  Over the years, we have also seen numerous examples of failures on an even deeper level, at the level of organizational culture.  This did not come into clear view until the final months of 2003.

On January 21, 2003, members of the CCPS Technical Steering Committee had the opportunity to observe in person the strong safety programs employed by NASA.  During a visit to the NASA Kennedy Space Center, with the Space Shuttle Columbia poised on the launch pad, we observed first hand an exceptionally well-constructed safety program: spotless housekeeping, detailed but usable and used operation procedures, precise communications, excellent task and site layout, and a willingness  to learn and share safety knowledge.  All agreed that we had seen the exercise of an exceptional process safety program, indeed an exceptional overall safety program. 

With this foundation, the collective shock experienced by the CCPS representatives upon the loss of Columbia just two weeks later was perhaps even more profound than that of the general population.  Over the ensuing months, as the facts from the incident investigation became available, there was discussion of “blindness” in the organization, caused by a failure of its safety culture. 

Upon the release of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board report in late 2003, a group of CCPS representatives began meeting to see what learning might be applied to the chemical and petroleum industries from the Board’s findings.  Almost immediately, this group began to see examples where  a weakened process safety culture had contributed to historical chemical incidents, such as Flixborough, Bhopal, and Piper Alpha.  This lead to further evaluation, and ultimately the creation of the material presented herein.   

These process safety culture awareness and evaluation tools in this package have been utilized in a diverse range of petroleum and chemical companies, and we believe that the tools will prove useful to any organization willing to devote the time to use them.  We hope you find value in these materials, and  look forward to hearing how this process worked for you and how it can be improved. 

Dave Jones and Anne O’Neal,  Chevron Corporation, Co-chairpersons, November 1, 2005

The Primary Tools

Instructions for using the package

Background materials


CCPS wishes to thank the members of the Process Safety Culture subcommittee for their dedicated efforts in developing the Process Safety Culture toolbox.  Specifically, we wish to thank co-chairs Dave Jones and  Anne O’Neal of Chevron, and committee members Don Abrahamson (OxyChem), Scott Berger (CCPS), Mike Broadribb (BP), Walt Frank (ABSG Consulting), John Herber (3M), Dan Isaacson (Lubrizol), Shakeel Kadri (Air Products and Chemicals), Greg Keeports (Rohm and Haas), Jack McCavit (Celanese Chemicals (retired)), Pete Lodal (Eastman  Chemical), Bill Marshal (Eli Lilly), Lisa Morrison (PPG), Mike Rogers ( Syncrude Canada), and Karen Tancredi (DuPont).  

In a postmeeting gathering, the term “Process Safety Zealots” was proposed as an apt description for this team’s dedication.  Accordingly, CCPS thanks them for their zeal, and acknowledges their companies for taking the next step towards preventing process safety incidents.

The presentation and associated self-evaluation tool were developed by Dave Jones, Walt Frank, Shakeel Kadri, Mike Rogers, and Karen Tancredi.  Walt Frank developed the supporting material and filled in the remaining holes.  If the committee were zealots, then these dedicated individuals are the alpha zealots. CCPS' pre-launch visit to the Kennedy Space Center was arranged, with the assistance of Shakeel Kadri and his colleagues of Air Products, by Mr. H.T. Everett and Mr. Eric Dirschka.  We thank these gentlemen for openly sharing their safety programs and for their gracious hospitality.


BUILDING PROCESS SAFETY CULTURE: Tools to Enhance Process Safety Performance. ISBN # 0-8169-0999-7

Copyright © 2005 Center for Chemical Process Safety of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 3 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10016-5991, All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the copyright owner.  AIChE and CCPS are trademarks owned by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  These trademarks may not be used without the prior express written consent of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  The use of this product in whole or in part for commercial use is prohibited without prior express written consent of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  To obtain appropriate license and permission for such use contact Scott Berger, 212-591-7237,

It is sincerely hoped that the information presented in this document will lead to an even more impressive safety record for the entire industry; however, neither the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, its consultants, CCPS Technical Steering Committee and Subcommittee members, their employers, their employers’ officers and directors, warrant or represent, expressly or by implication, the correctness or accuracy of the content of the information presented in this document.  As between (1) American Institute of Chemical Engineers, its consultants, CCPS Technical Steering Committee and Subcommittee members, their employers, and their employers’ officers and directors, and (2) the user of this document, the user accepts any legal liability or responsibility whatsoever for the consequence of its use or misuse.