Keep operations safe

A four-phase risk reduction strategy can play a crucial role

By Angela E. Summers and William H. Hearn, SIS-TECH Solutions

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Check

By what method? Only the method counts4. The Check phase applies metrics to assess performance against requirements. Sustainable operation is achieved by focusing on metrics providing real-time indication. Table 1 provides example metrics for the ISS. CCPS has suggested additional metrics9.

Lifecycle step
Example Metric
Hazard analysis

Total number of hazard and risk analysis scheduled during defined interval

  • Number completed
  • Number behind schedule
  • Percentage hazard and risk analysis behind schedule
  • For those behind schedule, total number of days behind schedule
Design basis

Total number of safety equipment

  • Number of equipment with as-built documentation
  • Number of equipment with redlined or missing documentation
  • Percentage of equipment with redlined or missing documentation
Mechanical integrity

Total number of inspections scheduled during defined interval

  • Number of inspections on schedule but incomplete
  • Number of inspections completed
  • Number of inspection behind schedule
  • Percent on time for inspection
  • Percent behind schedule for inspection
  • For completed, number of successful inspections
  • Percentage of successful inspections

Total number of equipment tests scheduled during defined interval

  • Number of tests incomplete
  • Number of tests completed
  • Number of test behind schedule
  • Percent on schedule for test
  • Percent behind schedule for test

For completed tests:

  • Number of tests with “as found” within equipment specification
  • Number of tests with “as found” outside equipment specification (i.e., failed dangerously, failed safe or degraded state)
  • Percentage of tests within equipment specification
  • Percentage of tests outside equipment specification

Total number of safety equipment

  • Total number of failures found by diagnostics
  • Total number of failures found by inspection and testing
  • Total number of failures requiring equipment repair or replacement
  • Total number of failed equipment returned to service within allowable repair time
  • Percentage of equipment returned to service within allowable repair time
Degraded operation

Total number of safety equipment that are out of service (bypassed, disabled, overridden or under test/repair) during process operation for defined interval

  • Total number hours that safety equipment is out of service
  • Number of safety equipment that are returned to service within allowable repair time
  • Number of safety equipment that are out of service, but covered under MOC
Process performance

Percentage of start-ups involving abnormal or emergency operation

Total number of process shutdowns during defined interval

  • Number due to spurious operation of safety equipment
  • Number due to abnormal or emergency operation

Total number of safety alarms during defined interval

  • Number of standing or nuisance alarms
  • Number of safety alarms requiring response

Selecting appropriate metrics to track can seem like an overwhelming task. Sometimes technical personnel want to measure everything just because they can. It’s important to carefully choose metrics so that just the right amount of meaningful data is collected. All systems involving humans and machines suffer some degree of variation in output quality. Good metrics drive personnel to do the right thing by identifying and correcting variation outside what’s considered acceptable. Measuring the wrong things can undermine process safety. It’s unfortunate but true that personnel will behave contrary to reason and the best interest of the company if necessary to “make their numbers.”

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