Process Safety Visions: Responsible Collaboration | AIChE

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Process Safety Visions: Responsible Collaboration

September
2017
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Great process safety performance is achieved by many organizations working together to advance process safety around the world. Responsible collaboration, one of the four societal themes of Vision 20/20, involves regulators, investigators, labor organizations, communities, research institutions, universities, and industries cooperating to achieve a common goal — excellent process safety performance.

In Vision 20/20, these various entities collaborate to share and learn from incidents, promote understanding of risks, leverage technical advances in process safety systems, build process safety competency, and improve process safety management systems. Opportunities abound for organizations to work together locally, regionally, and internationally.

Collaboration can be challenging because groups may have different objectives and approaches. However, collaboration can be achieved by aligning systems that support process safety across a range of entities. If all the organizations could share the Vision 20/20 theme of responsible collaboration, we could more quickly improve process safety across the chemical process industries (CPI) and the world.

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What Does It Mean?

  • Responsible collaboration is working together on a common goal of excellent process safety performance.
  • It involves seeking to understand and respect each other’s point of view.
  • It requires removing barriers to share and learn from incidents, promote consistent understanding of risks, and maintain effective process safety.

What Is the Value?

  • Working collectively toward the same goal is more efficient and effective.
  • A partnership challenges the respective partners to stay accountable and deliver great performance.

What Can I Do?

  • Recognize the value that others bring to the table and commit to working together to improve process safety.
  • Be open-minded to outside perspectives and focus on your common goal.
  • Actively participate in or lead joint industry projects.

What Does It Look Like?

Engage in industry forums and dialog with regulators to encourage the expansion of industry-wide collaboration on process safety. Industry events create an opportunity for communication between attendees, which helps to broaden perspectives. Stay open-minded and remember that each organization brings meaningful input to the discussion. Forums and dialogs help to inform you of regulatory developments, and provide additional insights on the impacts of those developments. Participating in these events encourages collaboration between regulators and attending organizations.

Learn from incident investigations when reports are issued. Incident and near-miss investigations identify root causes, including those related to human factors and leadership. Many major incident reports are publicly available, and the lessons learned can be implemented locally. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB) website is a good source of thorough incident investigations. CSB investigations identify root and contributing causes of incidents, regardless of whether the cause violated any current or enforceable requirements. The CSB highlights hazards not addressed by current regulations.

Participate in international conferences to discover and share lessons learned. Many sessions at conferences extract safety recommendations from incidents and share lessons learned to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Even incidents that occur in a different industry can provide insights for preventing a similar incident at your facility. Too often incidents happen that could have been prevented if safety lessons from similar events were distributed more broadly. Communicating the lessons learned to a broad community of process industry members can help prevent repeat incidents.

Share process incident investigation findings during unit production meetings and with colleagues. Find an external incident that relates to your operations or industry and identify the critical lessons learned. Then communicate those lessons and suggested actions to others. This will not only help ensure your colleagues and operations personnel better understand the types of incidents that can occur, it also reinforces the importance of managing process safety risk.

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