442448 Bridging Process and Occupational Safety Cultures for the Process Safety Professionals

Tuesday, April 12, 2016: 8:30 AM
360 (George R. Brown )
Sunil D. Lakhiani, Human Factors, Exponent, Inc., Warrenville, IL and Delmar (Trey) Morrison, Exponent, Warrenville, IL

Safety culture has identified as a critical element in some of the high consequence incidents in the oil and gas industry over the past few decades. Traditionally, safety culture, which is the collection of beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of the stakeholders within an organization regarding safety, has been viewed in terms of occupational safety: i.e., perception of components and norms that affect personal safety. It is clear that lapses in occupational safety can lead to injuries or fatalities to individual workers. However, lapses in process safety can cause injuries or fatalities to groups of workers, the public, or damage to the facility and environment. The obvious nature of hazards to individual workers often leads companies to focus more on occupational safety culture as opposed to process safety culture since occupational safety performance is easier to recognize. In contrast, process safety requires engineering discipline to systematically manage the potential hazards posed by a process system throughout its life. Thus, process safety culture is the collective group of values (i.e., beliefs, perceptions, attitudes) and behaviors that affect the safety management of processes in an organization.

In the traditional safety culture assessment approach, the focus on individual behavior, attitudes and perception of process safety concerns such as management of change, process hazard analyses, near-miss reporting, etc. has been missing. Due to such gaps, the application of traditional safety culture assessment tools and methods in the process industry does not provide a comprehensive status of the state of process safety culture in such organizations.

The objective of this paper is to discuss the differences between the occupational safety culture and process safety culture assessment techniques and present methods and guidelines to develop a process safety culture assessment tool. This paper will briefly discuss the traditional and commonly used safety culture assessment components and methods, followed by a discussion of the gaps in the traditional approach that make it inappropriate for application in the oil and gas industry. The authors will then discuss the developments in the safety culture assessment methodology geared for the oil and gas industry. The authors will also present different safety culture components to be considered as part of the tool used for benchmarking and tracking the process safety culture within an organization.

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