Chemical Processing’s Near-Ultimate Guide To Process Safety

A roster of must-read articles to help you prevent injury and save lives.

No one sets out to hurt people in the workplace -- no rational, sane person at least. Worker safety is a team effort and is led from top management down to engineers, line workers and support staff. Everyone has a role to play and everyone needs to stay on top of best practices as well as learn from near misses and missteps. To help you achieve that goal, here is our near-ultimate guide to safety. We can’t call it ultimate because every day we continue to learn and disseminate our findings. For now, here’s what we know:

Improve Your Plant’s Safety
Some sites focus primarily on enhancing occupational safety, such as preventing falls and slips, while other plants or processes face higher process safety risks, such as explosions or fires in production areas. Both aspects of safety deserve adequate attention and implementation of appropriate risk reduction measures. This article will help you address people and technology issues. Read now.

Worker Safety: Stimulate a Sense of Vulnerability
Plants with good safety performance often face a problem just because they haven’t suffered significant incidents for a long time. Complacency can develop, undermining the discipline required to maintain safety. We always must remember that safety is not a bankable commodity. Take seven steps to combat complacency that can compromise process safety. Read now.

Get To The Root Of Accidents
An often-claimed "fact" is that operators or maintenance workers cause 70–90% of accidents. It is certainly true that operators are blamed for 70–90%. Are we limiting what we learn from accident investigations by limiting the scope of the inquiry? By applying systems thinking to process safety, we may enhance what we learn from accidents and incidents and, in the long run, prevent more of them. Read now.

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Process Safety Begins In the Board Room
Major accidents such as those at Texas City and Buncefield and in the Gulf of Mexico have highlighted the critical role played by senior managers in the process industries. Effective leadership is essential to develop a positive safety culture that remains constantly vigilant toward process safety risks. This article will explore the leadership failings that contributed to recent major accidents and the six steps senior management should take to prevent catastrophe. Read now.

Achieve Effective Process Safety Management
After fatal industrial incidents in Seveso, Italy; Bhopal, India; and Texas City, Texas, chemical makers resolved to improve process safety management (PSM) to prevent similar events from happening. And yet we still witness disasters. Executive commitment to safety should be obvious to every employee — and it's what makes the difference between a firm that pays lip service to process safety and one that achieves process safety excellence. Read now.

Improve Your Risk Assessments
A risk assessment today, regardless of the particular technique used, often has a dual focus — safety, of course, but also cost effectiveness. Financially astute managers want to ensure the risk assessment process produces the "best" results in as short a time as possible with as small an impact on the project schedule as practicable. Consider a number of steps to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. Read now.

Make Safety Second Nature
Companies that want to elevate their environment, health and safety (EH&S) performance should focus on two sides of safety: the soft side and the hard side. The soft side is all about making EH&S a part of your culture and your DNA. The hard side is the engine that drives that culture, such as companywide operating disciplines, processes and tools. Both are critical, but the soft side is more difficult to achieve because it involves human behavior. Read now.

Understand Safety System Tradeoffs
Chemical plants treat safety as a top priority and install a variety of safety equipment and systems. However, changes in technology as well as new standards suggest that plants take a fresh look at their safety systems. Many facilities may be missing an opportunity to improve safety via a fieldbus. The majority of fieldbus protocols now have an approved safety bus. In addition, many automation vendors today favor integrating the safety instrumented system (SIS) with the process control system. Read now.

For even more coverage on process safety, download our Special Report: Safety Is No Accident

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