Common process safety management hazards

One of the philosophies that lies behind Process Safety Management (PSM) is that each chemical process is unique. Therefore it is not possible to have a prescriptive standard that tells operating companies what to do. Instead, companies have to identify the unique hazards associated with their facility, and then implement corrective actions based on a risk-ranking methodology.

Fundamental to this approach is the concept of Process Hazards Analysis (PHA). There are many PHA methods, including HAZOP, What-If and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis — most of them conducted by a team. Each method can help the team identify hazards that create a high-risk situation. Yet many hazards, particularly to do with piping, valves and hoses,, and routine operations — such as filling a tank — are really not all that different from one facility to another. Therefore, in order to save time during the PHA and also to improve the quality of the analysis, it is useful to list and evaluate some of these common hazards before the PHA meetings start.

The articles and safety moments that contain information and guidance to do with this topic are listed below.

Copyright © Ian Sutton. 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Safety Moment #34: The Purloined Letter

One of the world’s first detective stories, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Purloined Letter, was written in the year 1844. It is set in the City of Paris. In the story the bad guy — Minister D — has in his possession a letter containing compromising information about an unnamed lady. He is using this information to blackmail her. There is only one copy of the letter (reminder: there were no copying machines and scanners in those days).

Safety Moment #8: “But We’re Different, You Know”


  • Introduction
  • Industry Special Features
  • Transportation
    • Railroads
    • Hyperloop
  • Two-Way Street
  • Further Information


Process safety consultants usually find themselves working for a range of different companies and industries. (This variety is one of the most satisfying aspects of the work.) And, wherever they work they run across the statement, “But we’re different, you know”.