This is essential for:
- Protecting their people
- Protecting their licence to operate
- Eliminating or minimising the risk of incidents
- Meeting ever more demanding regulatory requirements
- Raising stakeholder and public confidence
There is also general acceptance that any operating companies putting in place the systems to manage production safely will also create a well controlled and efficient operation - ‘a safe operation is an efficient operation’. Process safety needs to be considered throughout the asset lifecycle; design, construction, operation, maintenance, modification and closure
Process Safety Management (PSM), as opposed to occupational safety, is about preventing major accidents such as fires, explosions and major losses of containment. The focus for PSM is events with severe consequences, (multiple fatalities, major injuries, loss of production, offsite impacts, major environmental incidents etc.) but a low likelihood of occurring (equivalent to the risk of an accidental fatality in the home). Occupational, or personal safety, which is also critical in COG companies, is concerned with falls from heights, cuts, electrocution etc.
The person responsible for process safety in an operating company needs to be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following three questions.
- Do we understand what can go wrong?
- Do we know what systems we have to prevent this happening?
- Do we have information to assure us these systems are working effectively?
To be able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions means having good risk identification and assessment processes, comprehensive risk controls in place and reliable monitoring of these risk controls. Not only do each of these elements have to function well, but they have to link to the other areas effectively and be consistent, so for example risk control systems must be designed for specific hazards identified during the hazard identification stage and the auditing process must ensure that all hazards are covered by the programme. Having common methodologies, terminology, action tracking systems etc. not only improves the effectiveness of the PSM system, but also the efficiency
Examples of best practice risk assessment processes (1) include HAZOP studies, Layers Of Protection Analysis (LOPA), Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA), consequence modelling, human factors assessments, Hazard Analysis (HAZAN) and Process Hazard Review (PHR). Risk assessments should be carried out for new projects, modification or any change that impacts an operation and periodically to existing operations to ensure continuous improvement.
Risk controls include a wide array of hardware and procedural systems including, Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS), pressure relief, operating instructions, emergency response planning, fire detection systems, design reviews and standards, auditing programs, alarm management and many more.
Robust PSM systems delivered cost effectively is an operational goal that requires effective people, plant and processes working together. Plant and equipment must be of an appropriate design, to the right standard and be adequately maintained. Procedures and systems must be fit for purpose and practicable. People must be competent, well lead and work within a positive culture.
The ABB approach to process safety is built on achieving sustainable risk reductions, through delivering proven solutions that can be practically implemented in potentially hazardous operations.
Process safety needs to be considered throughout the asset lifecycle; design, construction, operation, maintenance, modification and closure. At all stages of our involvement we work with customer teams to ensure we maximise the use of local operational experience and to share our skills and experience. This approach provides optimum solutions by combining best practice knowledge with a true understanding of operational needs.