Ultimate success of process safety management (PSM) is measured through effective operational risk reduction. Usually, there is a lot of emphasis on putting the various elements of PSM in place through adoption of established international standards and best practices. Many of these standards and best practices are very well documented and element leaders/champions are appointed. Unfortunately, many of these elements and element champions are in silos and thereby not contributing to the overall reduction in operational risk. The risk is not reduced until the documentation is converted into reality on the ground.
Also, there is a lot of emphasis on doing high quality technical studies and quantitative process hazards analysis but very little is done to follow up on implementing the recommendations and results of these studies. The operational risks are not reduced until the recommendations are actually implemented. So, despite significant amount of effort, the improvement in the effectiveness of PSM implementation is limited.
Learning from this experience, SCG Chemicals has adopted a practical, bi-focal approach that is driven with a specific purpose in mind — operational risk reduction. The short term focus was to address deviations from design intent and established procedures in the field. If these items are not addressed today, they can contribute to a potential catastrophic incident tomorrow. This enhanced operational discipline and prevented ‘normalization of deviations’. The longer term approach focuses on redoing structured PHAs and using the risk matrix to establish the levels of acceptable/unacceptable risks. Management decisions were made to address priority of the unacceptable risks with a rigorous follow up on implementing recommendations. This process has contributed to better outcomes in increased effectiveness of PSM while optimizing the money, time, and effort required. This paper will share the experience of SCG, along with DuPont as a partner, and the journey in implementing PSM effectively to reduce operational risks.