Process Safety Assessments
Audits used in a process safety management program.
Bureau Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
Chemical Safety Board
The articles, safety moments, ebooks and books to do with the chemicals and materials used in the process and energy industries.
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.
Many of the articles, safety moments and other publications at this site discuss the all-important topics of communication and story-telling.
Contractors in the process and energy industries
Analysis of serious incidents in the process and energy industries shows that often one of the contributing factors was that someone, somewhere was trying to improve safety. In other words, safety programs can cause safety problems — at least for a short period of time — and can, on occasion, contribute toward a major catastrophe.
Process safety programs require that all equipment be designed, operated and maintained to the highest standards. In practical terms this requirement means that if the equipment and piping always retains its integrity, i.e., if it does not leak, then then highly hazardous materials will not be released
For most facilities in the process and energy industries — particularly offshore — fires and explosions represent the greatest risk. Their consequences can be devastating and the likelihood of occurrence is significant given that these facilities typically handle large quantities of flammable materials and that sources of ignition are ever-present.
The ability to identify and risk rank hazards is fundamental to all process safety programs. If hazards are not identified, the risk to do with them cannot be eliminated or reduced. The articles and safety moments in this topic area describe various hazard identification techniques.
The management of health issues at industrial facilities falls between environmental and safety management. Unlike safety problems, which can occur instantaneously, health issues generally develop slowly. But health issues are not as long term as environmental compliance and they are largely under the control of facility management.
Most companies in the process industries have Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) departments; which are also referred to by the letters SHE, HES and EHS. (The sequence of the letters is not critical, but a good choice is EHS because the focus narrows down from the entire environment to long-term health issues and then to short-term safety challenges.
This topic covers types of human error, including mistakes and slips.
One industry that is currently in total turmoil is transportation. It seems as if every day we hear news about electric cars, drones and driverless cars. And one part of this turmoil is the technology known as hyperloop. This section provides articles, safety moments and other publications to do with this radically new form of transportation.
No matter how effective process safety systems may be incidents (not accidents) will happen. Analysis of these incidents can lead to important insights and lessons learned. Other process safety techniques, such as hazards analysis, are basically speculative and based on hard-to-estimate probabilities. Actual events provide real-life lessons.
This topic covers articles and safety moments which describe or reference incidents that have occurred.
Most of the information provided in our publications and at this site applies to the process industries overall - it is not industry specific. Procedures for vessel entry, say, are applicable generally. But each industry does have its own special issues and concerns. Therefore it is useful to understand the key features of the various industries and what differentiates them from one another.
One-legged stool: example of Simplicity in Inherent Safety.
Safety moments, ebooks, articles, books to do with maintenance.
One of the principles of process safety and of safety programs in general is that these activities can be and should be managed. In principle, there should be no surprises. Hazards and unsafe conditions should be identified and controlled using a risk ranking approach.
Management of Change lies at the heart of a successful process safety management program.
Topic: Marine transportation
NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material)
The development of formal safety management systems in the offshore oil and gas industry can be said to have started with the Piper Alpha catastrophe that occurred in 1988. Of course, companies working offshore had had safety programs before that time, but Piper Alpha can be viewed as being the starting point for the development of formal Safety Management Systems for offshore operations — world wide.
Articles and safety moments that are included in this topic are to do with operational excellence and management assessments. We have developed an Operational Excellence Assessment System to help address the challenge of capturing practical experience, and we decided to follow a similar thought process, i.e., first structure a system and second create a means of establishing a baseline.
Articles, safety moments and other publications to do with the operation, maintenance and inspection of process facilities are listed below.
Organizations in the Process and Energy Industries.
This topic covers the design of piping and valves, and their role within a process safety management program. Discussions to do with equipment are provided at this topic page.
Many of the publications that we offer are to do with the topic of Process Safety Management (PSM), or with related topics such as the offshore Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) and Safety Cases. Therefore, it is useful to spend a few moments examining the fundamentals of process safety. It is important to know what process safety management is, and what it is not.
The process industries have to meet a plethora of regulations and rules to do with safety. Doing so is time-consuming, expensive and often feels merely like a bureaucratic exercise. But regulations have to be followed — the law is the law. Hence process safety professionals must spend a good deal of their time supporting regulatory, audits and then reporting to management on issues that must be addressed.
Risk analysis and management lie at the heart of any effective safety management program. Given the enormous number of hazards that exist in any energy or process facility, it is vital to develop a program for understanding which of those risk are the most critical. The articles and safety moments will provide guidance on this important topic.
Publications to do with safety. Sub-topic is behavior-based safety (BBS).
The articles, safety moments and other materials that are part of this Topic discuss the development of Safety Cases — with a particular emphasis on Offshore Oil & Gas operations.
This topic provides discussion and guidance to do with SEMS — the offshore Safety and Environmental Management System that was promulgated following the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo catastrophe in the year 2010.
Stairways and ladders
Storage tanks are widely used in the process industries to store liquids that are below their boiling point at atmospheric temperature (some tanks may be insulated and they may have heating or cooling coils to maintain the temperature of the liquid that they are storing). Typically, tanks are either open to the atmosphere or to a system such as a flare or vent header that is at atmospheric pressure (this does not apply to floating roof tanks). Unlike pressure vessels, storage tanks cannot handle either high pressure or vacuum conditions.
One method for analyzing human reliability is a straightforward extension of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA)—in the same way that equipment can fail, so can a human make mistakes and slips. One technique for predicting human error rates is the THERP, which was developed in the 1950s. As with other PRA techniques, THERP models can use either point.
This topic is to do with trains and rail transportation. (Information to do with the new form of transportation — hyperloop — is provided in a separate topic area.)
One of the challenges that industry always faces is the need to transfer knowledge and experience from one generation to another. This problem has been particularly severe in the energy industries n recent years as a result of the decline oil prices and the consequent reductions in work force. The articles, safety moments and other publications listed below provide thoughts and guidance to do with this topic.
Topic covers different types of transportation.