The Process Safety Professional. Process Safety Fundamentals (Part 2)
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 third release. It covers the second part of Chapter 1. The topic is ‘Culture’.
The first of the CCPS management elements shown in Table 1.1 is ‘Process Safety Culture’. The meaning of the word ‘culture’ is difficult to pin down — it means different things to different people. Nevertheless, the topic is important; indeed, it is fundamental. Much of a process safety professional’s work is to do with improving or changing culture in some manner. For example, the Baker Commission report to do with BP’s 2005 accident at Texas City (Baker, 2007) uses the word culture many times; the following is a quotation from that report,
BP has not instilled a common, unifying process safety culture among its U.S. refineries. Each refinery has its own separate and distinct process safety culture.
The report does not provide a definition for the word culture.
As with the phrase ‘Process Safety Management’ it is difficult to come up with a definition for the term ‘Process Safety Culture’ that satisfies everybody. The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) provides the following description of culture in a process safety context.
Process safety culture has been defined as, “the combination of group values and behaviors that determine the manner in which process safety is managed”. More succinct definitions include, “How we do things around here,” “What we expect here,” and “How we behave when no one is watching.” In an especially sound culture, deeply held values are reflected in the group’s actions, and newcomers are expected to endorse these values in order to remain part of the group.
Arendt divides the topic of culture into twelve elements (Arendt, 2009):
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