Keywords: process safety management systems, benchmarking, risk based.
Process Safety Management (PSM) systems differ from personnel safety management in that process safety focuses directly on the processes, equipment and technology involved in causing an incident. PSM is focused on a risk based strategy and systematic implementation of processes to prevent process safety incidents. The focus shifts from the lagging indicators that track incidents to leading metrics that are used in a proactive manner to prevent incidents and continuously improve.
The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS®) has identified guidelines for a risk based safety process. The twenty process safety elements identified form the Four Pillars of Risk Based Process Safety. These are a commitment to process safety, an understanding of hazards and risk, managing risk, and systematic learning from experience. In 2009 the CCPS and Phillip Townsend Associates, Inc. (PTAI) entered into an agreement to develop a benchmarking program for Process Safety Management Systems (PSMS).
Benchmarking identifies how well a company is doing compared to its peers in the industry, what the industry top performance is, how large the gap is to the top performers within the industry, and creates a stimulus for continuous improvement. A PSM identifies performance gaps, creates performance enhancement goals, measures the effectiveness of improvement programmes, and maintains continuous improvement.
The benchmarking process begins with clear and consistent definitions for the participating sites or companies being distributed. A kick-off discussion is used to align key stakeholders, before data collection commences. Following submission of the data, PTAI validates the data on a site and company basis and provides analysis of the results. A discussion of the study results and gap opportunities is held with site management.
PSM benchmark assessments can help to identify three main interrelated but distinct benefits: (a) internal benchmarking of various sites, (b) learning through the process of understanding the benchmark questionnaire, and (c) a need for a detailed analysis of existing systems implementation. Using a systematic PSMS benchmark drives lessons learned to strategic and organisational learning.
Cindie Pridy, Phillip Townsend Associates, 509 North Sam Houston Pkwy, Suite 600, E Houston, TX 7706 USA
12 pages, 8 figures, 3 references