Process Safety Management Improves Worker Safety, Focusing on Avoiding Incidents in Oil Refineries and Chemical Plants

Oct 24, 2013, 13:00 ET from American Society of Safety Engineers

November ASSE Professional Safety journal examines how the implementation of process safety management has minimized incidents at India's Essar Oil

CHICAGO, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A string of disasters in oil refineries and plants that produce materials such as fertilizer and chemicals has drawn increased attention to the industry's safety practices. In response, India's Essar Oil Limited has implemented Process Safety Management (PSM) a practice developed by OSHA, and designed to minimize the consequences of catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, inflammable or explosive chemicals. Essar Oil's adoption of PSM is outlined in Process Safety Management, the Experience of Essar Oil a peer-reviewed feature in the November issue of Professional Safety, the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) journal.

When released, chemicals could have a major impact on workers, surrounding communities or facilities. The consequences of these incidents have significant life-threatening, environmental, legal and financial implications.

PSM provides an environment for improvement and increased the awareness of the safety impacts of technology, personnel and management of process hazards.

According to the article, PSM is still in the developmental stages in India. Essar Oil which produces nearly 400,000 barrels per day began the PSM process integration in 2010.

Essar adopted a basic framework consisting of 13 elements based on the OSHA rule and Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) guidelines, as well as guidelines in India. The elements accepted into the Essar Oil PSM framework are: employee participation, process safety information, process hazard analysis, operating procedures, training, contractor safety management, pre-startup safety review, mechanical integrity, hot work permit, management of change, incident investigation, emergency planning and response and compliance audits.

Implementation of PSM at the refinery occurred in phased, beginning with employee participation. Each phase also referred to three pillars of integrity – Operational, Plant and Design Integrity.

"The inclusion of employees in all aspects of process safety has been the point that has enabled its implementation in the refinery," explained Gopal Jayaraman, Ph.D, the article's author.

As of August, 2013, Essar Oil has achieved over 2,000 Lost Time Injury (LTI)-Free Days and over 1500 major fire-free days.

"Implementing PSM in the refinery has been a fruitful challenge," said Jayaraman. "The approach that it provides guides us in the formation of a positive safety culture within the complex."

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SOURCE American Society of Safety Engineers