Process Safety with Trish & Traci

Podcast: 7 Steps To Maintaining Safety Awareness in Industrial Plants

Oct. 10, 2023
It's crucial to instill and maintain a culture of constant unease to ensure ongoing safety.

In a 2015 Chemical Processing article -- Worker Safety: Stimulate a Sense of Vulnerabilityauthor Roy E. Sanders, former Chemical Processing editorial board member and author of the book Chemical Process Safety — Learning from Case Histories, offered seven steps to combat complacency that can compromise process safety.

Plants with good safety performance can become complacent over time, and lessons learned from incidents are often forgotten. It's crucial to instill and maintain a culture of constant unease to ensure ongoing safety.

According to the article, Former chair of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive Judith Hackitt bluntly warns: “Be clear that your role is to create unease, not to provide false (re)assurance.”

Here are seven steps to help you achieve this:

1. Learn from Employee Experiences:

Encourage employees to share their experiences and near misses.

Use real-life stories to highlight potential vulnerabilities.

2. Share Investigation Case Histories:

Educate all employees about past incidents and near-miss events.

Use vivid photos or videos to enhance the impact of the stories.

3. Utilize Process Safety Beacons:

Subscribe to the Center for Chemical Process Safety's (CCPS) Process Safety Beacon.

Share these one-page lessons regularly to promote process safety awareness. The Beacon is downloadable in more than 30 languages and offers a free subscription.

4. Show CSB Safety Videos:

Utilize videos from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) to showcase real incidents.

Use videos like "An Anatomy of Disaster" to emphasize the consequences of safety lapses.

5. Present the "Spiral to Disaster" Documentary:

Use the "Spiral to Disaster" video to recreate and learn from past disasters.

Focus on topics such as safety culture, permits, and communication.

6. BP's "Sharing the Experience" Booklets:

Access BP's practical process safety materials.

Use these booklets to supplement awareness and training with case histories.

7. Monitor Current Incidents Online:

Regularly search online for recent incidents and videos.

By implementing these steps and actively engaging your team in safety awareness, you can combat complacency and maintain a strong culture of safety within your organization. Remember, safety is not a commodity to be taken for granted; it requires ongoing effort and vigilance.

Unfortunate events happen all over the world and we will be here to discuss and learn from them. Subscribe to this free podcast so you can stay on top of best practices – you can also visit us at for more tools and resources aimed at helping you run efficient and safe facilities. Thank you for listening to the Tipisodes edition of Process Safety with Trish & Traci   

About the Author

Traci Purdum | Editor-in-Chief

Traci Purdum, an award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering manufacturing and management issues, is a graduate of the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent, Ohio, and an alumnus of the Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

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