Some organizations invest thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars on automation systems in safety applications with the desire to minimize the risk of their enterprise. However, spending dollars does not mean that the plant will reach the desired degree of safety after implementation. Return on investment in safety controls, alarms, and interlocks (SCAI) can be negatively impacted by human error, such as inadequate design, installation, testing, maintenance, and operation of the automation systems. These human errors are systematic failures that can be reflected throughout a site. Organizational discipline and administrative controls are needed to identify and correct these failures.
This paper will discuss important aspects of process safety management and how they are connected to the effectiveness of the SCAI. Functional safety auditing is an important aspect of the safety lifecycle as it specifically looks at the management systems and procedures required to keep SCAI working effectively. The case studies presented will illustrate how safety system effectiveness could have been improved if a detailed audit of the SCAI documentation and performance records had been conducted and the findings addressed in a timely fashion.