The Process Safety Professional. Process Safety Fundamentals (Part 1)
We are working on the book The Process Safety Professional. The current Table of Contents is available here. We are gradually releasing the contents of the book to paid subscribers. This is the second release in the series. It is the first part of Chapter 1.
Before proceeding with the discussion regarding the skills needed by a process safety professional, it is useful to summarize the core features of the discipline of process safety management (PSM). Therefore, in this chapter we provide an overview of some of the basics of process safety management. It must be stressed that the information provided here is no more than a high-level overview. There are many books that go into these topics in much greater detail. Your author’s Process Risk and Reliability Management (Sutton, Process Risk and Reliability Management, 2014) is one of those books; the Center for Chemical Process Safety offers a wide selection of process safety publications.
Process Safety Management
Although Process Safety Management (PSM) is often perceived as being “about safety” it is fundamentally a management program. A well-managed facility will not only be safe, it also will operate smoothly, and it will meet production and productivity goals. Indeed, we have learned that many of the principles of PSM can be applied to a wide range of industries — not just process facilities. Therefore, even the word ‘Process’ may be too restrictive.
Because process safety management is eclectic, and because the topic incorporates such a wide variety of management, personal and technical skills, it is difficult to come up with an unambiguous definition for the term. Three potential definitions are provided below.
The first definition comes from the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS 1992). It defines the term process safety management as follows.
The application of management systems to the identification, understanding, and control of process hazards to prevent process-related injuries and incidents.
A second definition is provided by the United Kingdom regulatory authority, COMAH. It divides Process Safety Management into two primary components:
Process safety culture which encompasses all aspects of how humans interact with the plant. Examples include a company’s process safety policy, leadership by site management and site-wide processes and procedures such as Permit to Work (PtW), Management of Change (MoC) and Competence Management, and
Technical process safety, covers the issues of identifying the MAH scenarios, determining the threats and consequences, implementing sufficient mitigation and maintaining the effectiveness of safety critical equipment and critical activities.
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