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Process Safety regulations play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of workers, the public and the environment. To aid in the meting out of regulations, Process Safety Management (PSM) is designed to manage the integrity of operating systems and processes handling hazardous substances by applying good design principles, engineering, and operating practices. As such, establishing a sound Process Safety Management (PSM) program is vital to any business that has highly hazardous substances onsite. Therefore, it is important that HSE professionals and business leaders understand the more about these PSM systems. In this post, we’ll attempt to answer the question that many have sought to find out, what triggers the need for a PSM system and why having a PSM system is important work your organisation!
What Triggers the need for a PSM system?
Major incidents in both the upstream and downstream industries have highlighted the importance of having robust processes and systems in place. Thus, with the prevalence of a few major incidents occurring in the oil and gas industry, the need for a PSM system was heightened. As mentioned by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), the emphasis of process safety and asset integrity is to prevent unplanned releases which could result in a major incident. It deals with the prevention and control of events that have the potential to release hazardous materials and energy.
In fact, safety agencies around the world, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States and the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, all require organisations in the oil and gas industry to have a PSM system established. Therefore, as a result of policies and regulations globally, PSMs have become widely needed in many organisations to prevent the occurrence of any major incidents that could damage or harm employees or the environment.
Why Process Safety Management (PSM) is important
There are various reasons why PSM is important and they can be split into two main categories which is Risk Reduction and Sustained Value.
The main reason why PSM is important is because it is essential for managing complex chemical operations as well as simple operations involving hazardous materials. The PSM contains a list of guidelines that organisations must follow when dealing with these high risks tasks and provides them with a list of performance indicators that they can follow to ensure the safety of their workers. With many oil and gas industrial plants growing larger and becoming more complex, it introduces more process risks and requires a broader and deeper approach to managing these risks. Thus, by having PSM systems in place, companies would be able to prevent any major or minor injuries in the workplaces. This increases the quality of life of employees in organisations and raises the safety level of employees.
Additionally, since PSM systems help prevent companies from emitting harmful substances into the environment due to their industrial operations, it allows companies to avoid paying any charges that might have been incurred due to their negligence. Property and environmental damage that might result from hazardous accidents which can amount up to significant amounts can be avoided and this helps the company save on large amounts of unneeded fees or costs.
The second reason why PSM systems are important is because it ensures sustained value for the organisation. Process safety helps boost the productivity of the organisation. A study by Lockheed Martin of their Paducah Plant found that by developing a safety culture, they were able to increase employee productivity by 24% and reduce factory costs by 20%. By implementing a PSM system, employees were able to increase safety while also reducing factory expenses.
Safe working conditions often go hand in hand with ideal operational conditions. With safeguards in place, employees can focus on their work, instead of the dangers in their workplace. Thus, by maintaining a clean and organized space to work it, companies can reduce safety hazards, and can also improve efficiency, as they are able to produce high quality products, on time, and at lower cost.
Safety in the workplace is productive in other ways, too. PSMs Employees who take personal accountability in their safety are more likely to be engaged and happy at work. Many studies have shown a link between happiness at work and employee productivity. To finish bringing things full circle, engaged employees are also more likely to be safe at work!
To understand more about the prevailing PSM standards in the industry, do check out our other blog below!
Process Safety and Major Hazards Management is a 4-day online training course. Designed to describe the best practice HSSEQ management systems required for process safety and other major accidents, the course explains some differences between occupational and major hazards management and cover the different aspects requiring control to ensure risks are controlled. Additionally, participants will discover the real HSE challenges that face the Executive Management team and their senior HSE professionals, function managers and staff within a global business.
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