Chapter 13: Managing Process Safety

Chapter 13: Managing Process Safety

Process safety incidents have resulted in thousands of deaths, severe environmental damage, and massive property and business losses. Process safety is usually seen as the responsibility of process safety or chemical safety experts. However, limiting the management of process safety to process safety professionals ignores the contribution of generalist occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals and the value of an integrated, collaborative approach. As a companion chapter to OHS Body of Knowledge Process Hazards (Chemical), this chapter provides information vital for the effective engagement of generalist OHS professionals in the management of process safety. After defining process safety, the chapter provides contextual information from historical and legislative perspectives, and considers the impact of process safety incidents on people, the environment and businesses. The core of the chapter focuses on clarifying the roles of process safety professionals and generalist OHS professionals, and reviewing process safety-related hazard identification, risk assessment and control from an OHS perspective. Finally, implications for OHS practice are discussed. As an impetus for change to both process safety and OHS practice, this chapter should facilitate improved safety in all process and hazardous chemical environments.

Keywords: process safety, occupational health and safety, OHS, failure, control

First year of publication: 2017

Current Version: 2019

Chapter 13: Managing Process Safety

Table of contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Process for developing the chapter content
1.2 Definition of process safety
1.3 Process safety vs OHS
2 Historical perspective
3 Extent of the problem
3.1 People
3.2 The environment
3.3 Cost
3.4 Other business impacts
4 Legislation
5 Clarifying roles
6 Hazard identification and risk assessment
6.1 Engineering drawings
6.2 Failure modes and rates
6.3 Approaches and tools
7 Control
7.1 Elimination through design
7.2 Prevention
7.3 Evaluation and assurance
7.4 Mitigation
8 Implications for OHS practice
9 Summary
Useful resources
Appendix 1: Common acronyms used in process safety
Appendix 2: Comparative role and interface of process safety and generalist OHS professionals
– scenario of an LPG tanker
Appendix 3 Comparison of process safety and OHS management systems

Trish Kerin BEng(Mech)(Hons), DipOHS, GAICD, CEng, FIChemE,
Professional Process Safety Engineer, FIEAust Director, IChemE Safety Centre, Institution of Chemical Engineers

After graduating with honours in mechanical engineering, Trish spent several years working in project management, operational and safety roles for the oil, gas and chemical industries. Trish has represented industry on many government committees related to process safety, and currently sits on the board of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) and the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center steering committee. Trish leads the IChemE Safety Centre, a not-for-profit industry-led consortium focused on improving process safety.

Learning Outcomes: Managing Process Safety

The OHS Body of Knowledge takes a conceptual approach which enables it to be applied in different contexts and frameworks.

To optimise its value for education and professional development learning outcomes have been developed for each technical chapter in the Body of Knowledge.

The learning outcomes as described give an indication of what should be the capabilities of an OHS professional; it is up to those developing OHS education programs, OHS professionals planning their CPD or recruiters or employers selecting or developing people for the OHS function to consider the required breadth vs. depth .

Please read the section on using the learning outcomes before delving into the leaning outcomes of the individual chapters.

The numbers against each learning outcome refer to the chapter number of the BOK download page. No learning outcomes have been developed for the chapters considered introductory or underpinning knowledge (that is chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, .13, 14, 15.)

Find Out More About Using the OHS BOK Learning Outcomes