Instrument Maintenance Aids Process Safety

15 signs your maintenance program is sick and needs attention.

By William (Bill) Mostia Jr., P.E.

It seems like instrument maintenance (and maintenance in general) is a bit overlooked when people consider process safety.

Even though mechanical integrity is a cornerstone of OSHA’s 1910.119 process safety management (PSM) regulations, maintenance in general does not always play a big part in process hazard analyses (PHA) such as hazard & operability (HAZOP) studies and risk assessments such as layer-of-protection analysis (LOPA), other than failure of process equipment and instrumentation being considered as hazard-initiating causes in the analysis. There may be a guideword or two, but HAZOP and LOPA are scenario-based, whereas maintenance, reliability, and mechanical integrity are system-level safety considerations that must be considered holistically. Maintenance, it seems, is often taken for granted, yet it can have a significant effect on safety.

This article explores how process safety is affected by system-level considerations in the instrument maintenance program; reviews how instrument maintenance has affected and can affect process safety, organizational performance excellence, and the minimum required maintenance level (MRML); and identifies signs of a poorly performing instrument maintenance organization.

Read the rest of this article from our sister publication Plant Services.

 

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