If you were able to search the words Process Safety Management in the dictionary, you may find the following: A Process Safety Management System is the application of management principles and systems to the identification, understanding, and control of process hazards to protect employees, facility assets and the environment. So really what does this statement mean to the average person? Well to put things simply, it is more than standards, rules and process, it is a journey, not a destination.
Process Safety Management was originally developed by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Chemical Manufacturer’s as a management system for hazardous processes as a result of the incident which took place in Bhopal, India, where over 2000 died from a release of Isocyantes. In the end Process Safety Management (PSM) exists to avoid future incidents such as this one.
Process Safety Management (PSM) is an elemental approach. All of the elements interconnect and overlap with themselves along with other regulations and standards. Sometimes, its hard to see the forest for all the dead trees the standards create.
One seemingly simple change can create ripples through the many Process Safety Management elements. We just need to remember why PSM exists and follow that path to the end result. You see PSM is not a three ringed binder that a consultant prepares and we (companies) put on our bookshelves to sit and gather dust.
It is an ever-evolving system that you make work, given our unique business situations and our interpretation of the required elements. The system won’t look like pure excellence (trust me, it may be ugly).
The Japanese quote fits very well here: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.” So I hope that some of this brief article will help and can lead you on the Journey of Improvement. You just have to remember . . . you are not alone . . . This is the digital age and we have so much information on the web to help us improve our Safety Management Systems and Processes.
Tomorrow . . . your reward for working safely today!
Since entering the Occupational Health and Safety field in 2008, Simon Mac Innis has been committed to the health and safety of those in the construction and trades industries. Today, he works as a OH&S Manager/Trainer implementing new policies and procedures, maintenance programs, and ensuring a safe environment for employees, brokers, and visitors.