(114a) Two Plants, One Fence Line: Understanding Process Safety Management Responsibilities in Shared Facilities

Authors: 
Walters, M. S., The University of Texas at Austin
Dee, S., Exponent
Ogle, R., Exponent, Inc.
Multiple companies operating process plants at a single site has become increasingly common as aging facilities are sold and re-purposed, but this scenario creates unique challenges for effective Process Safety Management (PSM). The PSM responsibilities of the owner/operator of a plant located within a shared facility will be explored using a case study of a fertilizer production facility that began operating as a single plant over half a century ago. The owner of the fertilizer plant subsequently sold off a portion of its assets to a specialty chemical company, which now operates independently of the original site owner but shares buildings, utilities, and a common fence line. While the companies have a good working relationship, there is limited process knowledge cross-over and communication between engineers and operators of the two organizations due to the dissimilarity of their respective processes. This paper will examine the responsibilities of the owner/operator of each facility at the site in the context of the Risk Based Process Safety (RBPS) approach to PSM developed by CCPS. Specifically, the RBPS elements of “Stakeholder Outreach” and “Conduct of Operations” will be examined in detail, emphasizing the concerns that may arise when more than one entity is responsible for the operation of processes within the fence line. Additionally, the element of “Emergency Response” will be analyzed through discussion of an incident in the case study where a contract employee working on behalf of the specialty chemical company was allegedly exposed to a hazardous chemical originating from the fertilizer plant. This case study will provide guidance for effective PSM practices at process facilities that contain more than one owner/operator.

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