Process Safety Management
The Deepwater Horizon/Macondo catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in the year 2010 demonstrated the need for new safety management regulations. The draft regulations went through various iterations, and the name of the responsible government agency changed twice. In the end, the SEMS (Safety and Environmental Management System) regulation became a requirement for offshore oil and gas operations in the United States.
A process safety expert and his wife went on a cruise. Part of the cruise included a tour of the ship’s impressive galley and food-serving facilities. The tour was led by one of the ship’s sous chefs.
The process safety expert realized that he was looking at a small chemical plant. In front of him were processes that involved chemical reactions, heat exchange and moderately high pressures. So he naturally started to ask the sous chef HAZOP-style questions on the following lines.
Q: Do you use natural gas for cooking?
One of the biggest complaints that companies have about hazards analyses is that the report following the team meetings is inadequate. We discuss some of the reasons for this disappointment here. Further information is provided in Chapter 5 of the book Process Risk and Reliability Management and in the ebook Hazard Identification.
These reasons include:
Safety Moment #31: the 26-Year Old HAZOP discusses the need for new methods for hazards analysis that can help generate fresh insights as to how incidents may occur. For example, techniques such as Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) and Bow-Tie method that have been introduced in recent years provide different and fresh ways of understanding risk.
Management of Change (MOC) lies at the heart of a successful process safety management system. If a facility is properly designed and constructed then virtually all incidents are caused by someone, somewhere making a change and inadvertently taking the process outside its safe limits. This means, therefore, that, in order to have full control of a facility managers and process safety experts must have a clear definition of the word “change”.