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Safety Nugget Week of March 13 - PSM Overview< Back to Blog

Mar 13, 2017
By: M. Cavett
Categories: Safety



Recently, at FRI we completed a process safety management (PSM) compliance audit, performed a unit process hazard analysis, and re-submitted our risk management plant to the environmental protection agency.  The goals of these exercises are to find and close gaps in our process safety program and to evaluate the effectiveness of our program.

The PSM mandate was developed by OSHA in the early 1990s after a series of catastrophic events had occurred where many lost their lives from accidents that could have been prevented. The chemical safety board, CSB, has many reports and videos describing these events on their website 

 The PSM mandate has 14 elements defined with instructions on how to implement each element.  When a program is functioning properly, these 14 elements will work together to prevent catastrophic incidents from occurring.

The following is a brief summary on each element.

  1. Employee participation – Each employee and manager has a role in developing and maintain the process safety culture of the company.  It needs to be a team effort where everyone has input in order for an effective process safety culture.
  2. Process safety information – Equipment Design information, process instrumentation drawing, chemical reactivity matrix, Safety Data sheets, etc.  are compiled and kept current with any changes that are made in the process.
  3. Process Hazard analysis – A diverse team performs an analysis where potential hazards are recognized and safeguarded against.
  4. Operating Procedures – Clear and accurate instructions for performing routine and non-routine tasks safely and efficiently.
  5. Training – Operators, engineers, and maintenance workers need to be trained on the process overview, process hazards, operating procedures, and how to operate safely. 
  6. Management of Change – A diverse team including engineering, maintenance, and operations approves or rejects changes based on feasibility and evaluates and develops safeguards against any process hazards resulting from the change. 
  7. Pre-Start up Safety Review – A team including operations review completed construction projects prior to initial startup to make sure it was installed as designed and all management of change items are completed including informing and training affected personnel.
  8. Mechanical integrity – Equipment needs to be inspected at the right intervals, designed using the correct standards, built following the correct standards and procedures. 
  9. Compliance Audit- An extra set of eyes needs to review the process safety culture periodically to find areas in need of improvements.
  10. Trade secrets – Any trade secrets need to be evaluated too to determine effects on process hazards.
  11. Contractors – Contractors need to be informed of applicable process hazards.  Safety evaluation of contractors prior to employment needs to be completed.  It needs to be made sure contractors are informed and trained on applicable safe work practices prior to working onsite
  12. Incident investigations – The root cause of events that resulted (or could have resulted) in loss of containment of a hazardous substance needs to found and prevented from happening again in the future.
  13. Hot Work Permit and Safe Work Practices – Hot Work policy for welding, cutting, and grinding; Lock out tag out; first opening of process piping and equipment; etc. These all need to be fully understood by operations, maintenance, and contractors. 

Emergency Planning and Response – Having detailed plans for emergency scenarios and period drills to make sure plan is effective and understood.  Working with outside


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