The Process Safety Professional. Part 2: Attributes

The original post for this blog is here.

We are working on a book with the working title The Process Safety Professional. In it we consider the skills, knowledge and experience that someone needs to be successful in this business.

The following quotation is taken from a draft of the manuscript. 

The skills that a process safety professional needs can be divided into the following four categories, in roughly this order of importance.

Working with people
This is the most important skill, and it usually presents the biggest challenge. The professional has to work with a wide variety of people, including his or her manager/client, operating and maintenance technicians, attorneys, engineers, regulators and members of the public. This is not easy.

Industrial realities
The professional needs to understand how things “really work around here”, whether it be at an operating facility or a new project. He or she is always working within the financial constraints and culture of the facility or project that is being analyzed.

Systems thinking
The process safety professional needs see the facility or project that he is working on as an integrated system. Once more, this is not easy.

Technical skills
Process safety analyses are often based on complex and sophisticated models to do with fires, explosions, vapor dispersion and risk analysis. The professional cannot be an expert in all of these areas, but he or she does need to know how to interpret the results.

It must be stressed that no one, certainly not your author, possesses all these qualities — they are a target to shoot for.