The Process Safety Professional. Process Safety Fundamentals (Part 5)
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 fifth release. The topic is ‘Other Industries’.
One of the themes of this book is that the principles of process safety are not unique to the process industries. It is true that certain aspects of process safety management — the handling of highly toxic chemicals, for example — are specific to the industry, but most are not. In the next chapter we discuss how other industries have provided valuable input to the development of the process safety discipline. In addition to developing techniques such as Probabilistic Risk Analysis, these industries and disciplines provide guidance with regards to the development of a positive culture.
The sharing of expertise and information goes in both directions. The process safety profession uses many techniques and management programs developed in other industries and areas of work. Examples include the nuclear navy, the electronics industry, and the civilian nuclear power industry.
Admiral Rickover is often referred to as the father of the nuclear navy. The ships and submarines for which he was responsible were powered by nuclear reactors and were often armed with nuclear missiles. He knew that the first accident with one of these vessels would also be the last accident — therefore, he could have no tolerance for mistakes of any kind. The stringent standards that he imposed regarding both nuclear safety and personnel selection have been a critical factor in the navy's continuing record of zero reactor accidents.
The following quotation summarizes his management philosophy.
[A] principle for managing a successful program is to resist the natural human inclination to hope things will work out, despite evidence or doubt to the contrary.
It is not easy to admit that what you thought was correct did not turn out that way. If conditions require it, one must face the facts and brutally make needed changes despite considerable costs and schedule delays.
Rickover used the following seven “rules for success”.
Practice continuous improvement,
Hire smart people,
Establish quality supervision,
Respect the dangers you face,
Training must be constant and rigorous,
Audit, control and inspect, and
Learn from past mistakes.
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