Fire/Explosion Protection / Risk assessment

Path for Process Safety Emerges

Two process safety groups release report highlighting key areas of improvement for process safety.

By Mark Rosenzweig, Editor in Chief

Two leading process safety groups, the IChemE Safety Centre (ISC), Rugby, U.K., and the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC), College Station, Texas, have just released a report that everyone concerned with process safety should read. “Process Safety for the 21st Century and Beyond” describes challenges in process safety, details existing initiatives, discusses what can be done individually and collectively to advance process safety, and highlights opportunities for joint efforts of all stakeholders. In addition, it calls for action in a number of areas.

Safety professionals from academia, industry and government worldwide worked on the report.

A 20-person team composed of prominent process safety professionals worldwide from academia, industry and government, and headed by Trish Kerin, Melbourne, Australia-based director of the ISC, and M. Sam Mannan, executive director of the MKOPSC, developed the report. (Dr. Mannan presents CP’s popular series of free process safety webinars. For details on the six webinars scheduled for 2018, go here.) Its goal was to examine what actions can be taken to improve the operational safety of facilities — and to foster feedback on issues.

“This unique initiative will provide recommendations to anyone interested in improving process safety performance for future generations. This is not a static piece of literature, the ISC, together with the MKOPSC, wants to see it grow as a result of ongoing input from our community,” stresses Kerin.

“This is only the beginning, and I’m intrigued to see the input we receive…,” adds Mannan.

The sections on challenges, existing initiatives, and individual and collective actions each include specific subsections focused on academia, regulators, industry and society. The section on opportunities for joint efforts covers the key issues of competency, making a good business case for process safety, and collaboration. This segues into a section with calls for specific actions in all three areas.

For instance, the report cites nine important actions needed to develop, enhance and maintain competence. These include building an international surveillance system that feeds into a repository for incident data; establishing a standard process safety curriculum for undergraduates; working with regulators and governments to ensure regulations are consistent and science-based; and developing a continuing professional development program, e.g., for a safety certificate.

To make a good business case, the report calls for discussing process safety in terms of business performance by citing its positive impact on factors such as reliability, profit margins and public image.

The report also contains four calls to action related to collaboration. These include rewarding positive workplace collaboration in process safety, and enhancing communication through workshops and forums.

The full report is downloadable here.

I urge you to read this important report, think about the issues and recommendations, and provide feedback.

rosenzweigweb.jpgMARK ROSENZWEIG is Chemical Processing's Editor in Chief. You can email him at