Video: Process Safety Management
The nature of Process Safety Management (PSM) can be understood by examining its component words.
The first word is Process. PSM is concerned with process issues such as fires and the release of toxic gases, as distinct from occupational safety issues, such as trips and falls.
The second word is Safety. Although an effective PSM program improves all aspects of a facility's operation, the initial driving force for most PSM programs was the need to meet a safety regulation, and to reduce safety incidents related to process upsets and hazardous materials releases.
The third word is Management. In this context a manager is taken to be anyone who has some degree of control over the process, including operators, engineers and maintenance workers. Effective control of an operation can only be achieved through the application of good management practices.
The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS 2007b) provides guidance as to what constitutes a PSM event:
PSM is not new; indeed it has always been an
integral part of the process industries. Companies have always carried
out activities such as the writing of procedures, planning for emergencies,
training of operators and the investigation of incidents. But it was
in the late 1980s and early 1990s that PSM programs became more formalized
Although industry tended to resist these new regulations, they did force companies to complete their process safety work promptly. Prior to the regulation there was a tendency to put off tasks such as the writing of operating procedures "until we have time". OSHA required that most of the elements be implemented immediately. The standard put managers' feet to the fire.
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For discussions and updates to do with Process Safety please visit our Process Risk and Reliability Management blog.
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