Process Safety Management: A Proactive Approach
Author: Shashank Bajpai
1984 Bhopal tragedy, is still not fully evaporated from our minds. Over 3000 immediate deaths marked endless grief in the history of Bhopal and India. Insufficient maintenance, non-existence of catastrophe management plans, inadequate safety systems-emergency action plans and lack of skilled operators robustly indicated the failure of reactive approach to safety systems. Ultimately, demanding to shift from reactive to Proactive approach for management of process safety. In this article, we are going to look at the different aspects of process safety management keeping a proactive viewpoint.
“Accidents don’t happen they are caused”
Reference: Indian Chemical Industry Accident Database-CISRA
Causes of Accidents
Elements Of Process Safety Management
A) Operations: provides a description of the operation. It consists of Hazards of the material, process design basis, equipment design basis. The equipment design basis should be documented, maintained, and well communicated to the operator employees who are involved in operations. There should be proper documentation and description.
B) Operating Procedures and safe work practices Procedures must include steps for each operating phase, from startup to shut down, as well as safe work practices to control all types of hazards. Safety data sheets must be updated and should be ensured that safety SOPs are being followed during operation. OP helps a facility to operate without serious safety and environmental incidents, this, in turn, improves the overall quality, online time and economically benefits the industry.
C) Management of Technology Change: Major accidents in the chemical industry occur due to change in technology, Personnel, facility due to –
- Advancement in technology
- Economic measures
- Regulations compliance.
The modifications resulting from a change must be documented and communicated to the operators. These changes have direct or indirect hazard potential before the change is implemented, during the change and after the change. There should be adequate ability to audit the change. Many serious incidents occur within 6 months of significant change.
D) Process Hazard Analysis-PHA: PHA plays a vital role in the identification of hazards, scripting and addressing consequences of identified hazards and rectification in/of the operation beforehand to minimise any hazard to take place. Moreover, it also lets you identify the exact probable reasons behind any process hazard.