Providing insight on PSM Benchmarking
A collaborative exercise looking at asset integrity management, involving 12 COMAH sites and key industry stakeholders
Process Safety Management (and specifically asset integrity management) is one of the HSE’s foremost ‘hop topics’ for high hazard sites but, in general, industry’s approach to it has been very disjointed. In order to address this, HFL Consulting together with the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) embarked on the first ever PSM benchmarking programme for the UK chemical industry.
The aim of the programme, which was carried out with the knowledge and support of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), was to share experience between companies, find commonality and help sites to strike a practical balance between aspirations, standards and reality.
Understanding degradation of Risk Control Systems
Put simply, Process Safety Management is making sure that the reality of plant operations and maintenance is the same as the design intent at all times. It is about getting it right first time and ensuring that it is always right. PSM therefore requires an organisation to consistently perform in the following areas by:
PSM can therefore be thought of as a high integrity management system focussed on the critical plant and equipment.
Asset integrity management is a key Risk Control System
Benchmarking Asset Integrity Management
Since PSM covers such a complex set of issues, this initial benchmarking exercise focused on Asset Integrity Management, a critical risk control system in the prevention of major accidents.
Process Safety Management Systems
Benchmarking – Asset Integrity Management
Assessments were undertaken using HFL Consulting's INSIGHT Lifecycle auditing and assessment tool. This is a database driven expert system designed to quickly pinpoint areas for improvement and allows all PSM elements to be examined independently.
Process Safety Management Systems
Understanding the Gaps
Based around CCPS and COMAH guidelines, questions were posed to cross functional teams of managers and supervisors from each participating site to ensure that all aspects of the operation were covered.
Training and Workshops
After undertaking an intensive one day assessment centred on asset integrity management, each company was given individual confidential feedback on the findings, conclusions and suggested areas for improvement for their site.
Greater involvement from the top can provide clarity on what needs to be done, where and when, in accordance with budgets.
The programme revealed some encouraging results in relation to the technical aspects of asset integrity management but it also highlighted some leadership and management issues:
The Chemical Industries Association fully supports the benchmarking and audit programme. Businesses managing major hazard potential have to appreciate that the hazardous substances they store represent their highest business risks, and need to be sure they have effective systems to manage those risks. The process safety leadership and management elements of the benchmarking programme cover all these aspects, and CIA member companies tell us they like the benchmarking approach so that they can see where they may need to improve in relation to other businesses – so the programme meets industry needs on a number of levels.
Other Case Studies