Processing the value of safety performance Indicators

Process Safety Performance Indicators mark the difference between a safe and unsafe site. After all, the knowledge we acquire is critical to:

  • Preventing major incidents such as Buncefield
  • Learning from events to avoid similar occurrences in the future

Accurate reporting informs decision makers, metrics providing a guide against which safety systems can be tailored at site and group level.
Remember: always ensure your leading and lagging indicators are clear and concise – even Bob in the burger van should be able to understand them. Clarity is the best route to safer actions.

The principle of strong operations

When we talk about operational principles, what do we mean? Put simply: an operational principle pertains to the established parameters on a site which are designed to maintain primary containment in line with legislation.

They must:

  • Set out the minimum operational performance requirements for specific tasks
  • Underpin competence and process safety requirements

How can we create an operational principle?

Operational principles should ensure operations are conducted within clearly defined parameters. This is achieved by accurate identification of the safe operating envelope.

Flip that coin and the procedures should also include actions to be taken to control and mitigate any excursion outside of the safe operating envelope.

Operating principles should protect:

  1. People: employees, visitors, contractors and the public
  2. Environment: prevent damage to land, water and air
  3. Assets:  protect products belonging to the company, their clients and the public
  4. Reputation: build public and professional confidence

To achieve this state of safety, operating principles should be built around a set of core areas:

Safety: Undertake the task in a safe and controlled manner
Devices: Operations should only commence if all safety devices are in place and functioning as designed
Consistency: All companies must be consistent with regulatory, legislative and local requirements
Efficiency: Always make the best use of equipment and personnel, reducing exposure and maximising safe operation
Clarity: Unlike a doctor, write things down in clear manner to , maximise usability and, in turn, minimise the likelihood of error and non-compliance
Communicate:    Ensure safe operations are communicated through a culture of safety, developed from the top down with clear channels for two-way dialogue
Audit & review:   Put systems in place to regularly review procedures – this should include supervisors and personnel who are required to use them

Taking a bite of the safety pie

“Concern for man himself and his safety must always be the chief interest of all technical endeavours.”

Albert Einstein

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