Running in place? Starting a playground swing without touching the ground? Effective, long-term process safety?
All these tasks are difficult, and can seem impossible and pointless until a little momentum starts to build. Well, despite gains in some standards and technical areas, this apparent limbo is where process safety is today due mainly to entrenched corporate cultures in the process industries that continue to value and demand production and profit over safety and the lives and health of their people.
Granted, more process users and engineers are performing risk assessments (RA), hazardous operations (HazOp) studies, layers of protections analyses (LOPA), safety integrity level (SIL) evaluations and other methods, and even designing and implementing more ISA S84/IEC 61511-compliant safety systems. However, most of the safety programs that do get off the ground still fall woefully short on routine safety data gathering, maintaining long-term safety practices, and adjusting safety systems to integrate new equipment and systems.