I would like to take a break from talking about this virus this week. (Wouldn’t we all?) Instead, let’s take another long-range look as to where the process industries may be going, and how safety management programs may have to adapt.
In this post I would like to consider how those of us who work in industrial and process safety can help the community at large? The subject came to mind when I was discussing the eventual return of people to church services with a colleague. Our Episcopal diocese has organized a four-phase program for the re-opening of the churches (we are currently in Phase One).
In any performance-based program such as process safety, the work is never finished — there is always room for improvement. Nevertheless, the developments that are being made are mostly to do with improving existing programs or techniques. For example, the hazards analysis technique LOPA (Layers of Protection Analysis) has seen widespread application in recent years. Yet it is basically a development of the well-established Fault Tree and Event Tree techniques.
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?
The Two Second Rule is used in driver training. It states that a driver should stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of his or her vehicle. This is because most drivers require at least two seconds in which to respond to a sudden or emergency situation. The concept of a “two second rule” can also be used in process safety management programs.
For the complete Safety Moment, please visit 52 Process Safety Moments.
History Safety Management: we have published a 30 minute video package that shows how safety management systems in the process and energy industries have developed during the course of the last 300 years. The YouTube video shown at the end of this page provides a short extract.
We have developed a set of process safety management standard examples that are used to illustrate some of the concepts and ideas developed in our publications.
Example 1 - Facility Design
A process consists of four operating units and a utilities section. A schematic of the system is shown in Figure 1.