In the world of industry, process safety is a paramount concern. It involves safeguarding the well-being of employees, the public, the environment, and the manufacturing assets while ensuring the smooth operation of complex processes. Achieving success in process safety demands unwavering commitment, meticulous planning, and continuous improvement.
Vision 20/20, a forward-looking framework, offers a comprehensive approach to enhance process safety. The five core tenets and four societal themes of Vision 20/20 create a powerful blueprint for excellence in process safety.
The five industry tenets of process safety
A committed culture
A safety-conscious culture is the cornerstone of process safety. It starts with leadership demonstrating an unwavering commitment to safety. When executives, managers, and supervisors lead by example, and all employees maintain vigilance and a sense of vulnerability, a committed culture takes root.
Vibrant management systems
Effective management systems must permeate every level of an organization. They should be adaptable to varying operations and risks, clearly understood by all employees, and promote safety in design, operations, and maintenance.
Disciplined adherence to standards
Standards are the foundation of process safety. It’s not only about adhering to new construction standards but also ensuring that existing equipment meets company expectations. Collaboration with regulators and industry associations is crucial for making standards effective and efficient.
Intentional competency development
Having the right systems and standards in place isn’t enough without competent employees to implement them. Therefore, companies must focus on developing the technical and behavioral competencies of their employees.
Enhanced application and sharing of lessons learned
Learning from past experiences, whether they are near misses, incidents, or successful endeavors, is vital for continuous improvement. Sharing these lessons across industries can significantly enhance process safety performance.
Four societal themes enhancing process safety
While the five tenets of Vision 20/20 lay the foundation for robust process safety, four societal themes play a pivotal role in further strengthening the framework.
Enhanced stakeholder knowledge
The public, government, and industry leaders must work together to enhance stakeholder knowledge. This starts with STEM education and risk literacy in schools and colleges, ensuring that future generations are prepared to engage in meaningful conversations about process safety risks.
Regulatory authorities, labor organizations, communities, research institutions, universities, and industries should collaborate to achieve a common goal: excellent process safety performance. By working together, they can leverage their collective expertise.
Harmonization of standards
To streamline practices, eliminate redundancy, and cooperatively address emerging issues, standard organizations must harmonize their guidelines for safe equipment design, operation, and maintenance. This simplifies compliance with standards on local, national, and global levels.
Third-party verification by knowledgeable organizations will become a standard practice. This will help companies evaluate their process safety programs and ensure they meet the highest standards.
Vision 20/20 offers a holistic approach to process safety that encompasses not only the internal culture and systems of a company but also its engagement with the wider community. By embracing these five tenets and four societal themes, industries can work towards achieving excellence in process safety. In a world where catastrophic events can still occur, this framework paves the way for a safer and more secure industrial landscape.