(82a) Auditing Your Process Safety Culture

The May 2005 accident at BP's Texas City, TX refinery, resulted in 15 deaths and more than 170 injuries. The BP US Refineries Independent Panel, known as the Baker Panel for its chairman, former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, was commissioned by BP following a recommendation by the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. In a report released in January 2007, the panel made a series of recommendations directed at BP's process safety management (PSM) systems and safety culture. The recommendations and their rationale have significance for all companies involved with PSM. Cultural issues impacting process safety have also been addressed in the CCPS's 2007 book, Guidelines for Risk-Based Process Safety, in various papers and previously, in NASA's reports on the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.

To address process safety culture issues, an auditing protocol was developed. The protocol was based on the Baker Panel report, Guidelines for Risk-Based Process Safety, and other sources, and can be used at an individual facility, or applied on a corporation-wide basis to address multiple facilities and their umbrella PSM organization. The protocol has now been applied at several facilities. The paper discusses the protocol and its use, and presents insights into the results of process safety culture audits.


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