Process Security Goals: Plan to Fail
The energy industry has stressed the need for performance measures in order to manage the associated major risks that are inherent in the industry. Some companies have adopted process security measures or are in the process of implementing them. Others are lagging behind, relying on workplace safety measures.
Companies are familiar with the concept of setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) and go ahead and set goals in all areas of the business. For process safety, these goals are called elements of process safety management (PSM) and take into account operational safety, maintenance performance, asset integrity, change management, key oil discharges and other measures (14 total in OSHA Process Safety Management Model). These process safety metrics are then developed into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are intended to provide important information on the effectiveness of safety systems and an early warning of impending catastrophic failure. One of the key requirements for the successful implementation of process safety performance metrics is site-specific data. Typically, the data is already available within the organization but is not being used to take full advantage of it.
A vision of perception and interpretation
The goal of process security KPIs is to be an important prerequisite for business leadership to ensure that they know what is going on and how effectively key hazards are being controlled. To get this message across successfully, KPIs must be relevant, correct, and understood by those who manage them.
An example of a perception and interpretation of a larger performance goal is the rumor that former US President Bill Clinton read a book a day for a year. Hearing this information, most people assume he was reading classic novels and think this is a tremendous feat of omnivorous reading. But one could suggest that most parents probably exceed this goal by reading stories to their children on a daily basis. Perhaps we will never know exactly what Mr. Clinton was reading, demonstrating that there is an automatic human position to accept these statements without challenge.
The same effect can be applied to performance measures in which the results are not called into question. Obviously, senior executives make KPI results more visible within organizations and review them regularly, but not the information behind the target “green” metric on a process safety report. It seems that for the operator the most important aspect is that the target is green without necessarily understanding the measurements or the data that lie below, and some operators suffer from what one might call ” target “. This is where senior management is so used to seeing the same string of actions month after month with no change. In these cases, it is important to implement continuous improvement to update or challenge performance data to ensure that process security measures do not lose their importance or meaning.
For external stakeholders who are interested in a company’s process security performance, an audit of process security metrics is an obvious place to start. External audits have the advantage of bringing a fresh perspective to examine performance indicators and identify gaps, while providing lessons and best practices from other operators. However, during this process, it is surprising how often external auditors see gaps in security performance.
An example of this was seen for a large complex energy facility in the Middle East for monitoring the performance of the change management (MoC) process. The MoC performance measure was clear: 90% of the MoC documentation had to be completed on time. The target had been reported as being on track for several years and was marked as “green” in the monthly process safety report metrics. However, a closer look at the data behind the metrics score revealed that the site was reporting a target that was 90% of the 90% target. This meant an overall performance of 81%, which was actually well below target and should have been displayed as “red” (off target). Therefore, there was a risk that a higher level of non-compliance would mean the business was operating at a higher level of risk than expected for project documentation, which could lead to a process security incident. Inaccurate process documents as a result of a change have been cited repeatedly in the industry as a contributing factor to process security incidents.
Lessons learned from industry losses
Gaps in process safety performance management were a key finding in some of the industry’s most significant incidents where senior management in the energy industry failed to adequately monitor Adequate status of KPIs of process safety, resulting in poor decision making.
Here are some examples :
- On October 23, 1989, the Phillips 66 petrochemical facility in Pasadena, United States, exploded, killing 23 workers at a large chemical plant, injuring 314 others and resulting in one of the country’s largest property losses. petrochemical industry. The explosion resulted from the release of approximately 40 t of flammable process gases during routine maintenance, which were released by an open valve almost instantly. The initial explosion recorded 3.5 on the Richter scale, and the ensuing blaze took 10 hours to bring out. The scale of the explosion and the significant loss of life that occurred was tragic proof that a catastrophic loss of containment could have serious consequences and helped modernize process safety management programs in States. United and in the world.
- In 2000, three incidents occurred at the Grangemouth refinery in the United Kingdom, including a major fire in a processing unit caused by a large oil leak during start-up procedures. One of the main findings of the survey was that high risk energy installations require special attention to process safety management and cannot rely on occupational safety indicators to provide an indication of performance. process security.
- On March 23, 2005, the Texas City refinery in the United States exploded when a release of hydrocarbon vapor ignited, killing 15 workers, injuring 180 others and severely damaging the refinery. During the investigation, it was observed that at the time of the incident, the process security KPIs were either under development or insufficient to drive the site’s performance in terms of process security.
Each of these incidents calls into question the existence of a thorough understanding of the importance of process safety management information to providing leadership in controlling major risks in certain organizations. Sadly, significant incidents resulting in death, injury, environmental damage and property loss have continued for the past 30 years since the Pasadena explosion. The most recent losses from the 2010 fire, explosion and oil spill from an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico, and the release of toxic chemicals at LaPorte, USA, in 2014 recalled that the overall improvements made to the management of process security elements and their associated measures have not yet achieved the objective of preventing significant process security incidents.
Business goals change over time i.e. make X amount of money or be more efficient. Thus, management teams seek to apply a “ratchet effect” to optimize the company from a financial point of view. However, security measures serve a different purpose and fall outside of other business objectives. The goal of process safety will always be zero incidents, which is why applying a ratchet to improve this performance is not as applicable as for other business goals. When adopting process security KPIs, an organization can establish a roadmap to continuous year-over-year incident reductions and tighter PSM metrics to achieve the ‘achievable’ element of a SMART goal. . But the most powerful question to ask for continuous improvement is: is the system working?
In terms of best practice, guidance for documented process safety systems is provided by OSHA and ISO standards. It should be mentioned that these standards provide a structure and therefore the implementation of this structure must be adapted to the challenges and risks within the organization. Traditional metrics such as lost time injuries are important for businesses to track, but are not true elements of PSM and do not provide a good indication of process safety performance.
Written by Dr Jason Shirley, ECP Energy & Chemical Professionals, UAE.
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/special-reports/18062021/process-safety-targets-planning-to-fail/