HFL Consulting (now part of SLR)

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Recent incident investigations have called for a much greater emphasis on process safety management when managing risks at hazardous installations. All too often it has been found that major accidents have been attributed to poor management systems that have evolved due to weak process safety leadership and an inadequate process safety culture.

Achieving good corporate governance of process safety can be difficult, where de-layering and downsizing of departments, company reorganisations, acquisitions and divestitures are commonplace, and where a common understanding of the critical systems necessary for maintaining safe and reliable operation are often lacking.

The process safety policy should set out the key principles governing the process safety management programme, stating clearly the organisation’s regulatory and corporate requirements. In addition to meeting the requirements of specific regulations, the policy should cover, as a minimum, the organisation’s approach to:

  • Hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Compliance with legislation, codes, standards
  • Process safety information management
  • Organisational competency management
  • Appropriate use of systems and procedures for safe design, operation and maintenance of process plant and equipment, including management of change and emergency response
  • Training

The policy should also assign specific responsibility, ensuring management alignment, for all activities associated with delivery of the defined programme, from boardroom to supervisory level.

HFL Consulting, with the support of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), embarked on the first ever process safety management benchmarking programme for UK sites regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.

The benchmarking study (published in A Benchmarking Study on Asset Integrity and the Issues of Ageing Plant in the UK Chemicals Industry, Hought J. & Fowler A., 2012) compared approaches to asset integrity management at a number of upper tier COMAH sites against internationally recognised good practice guidance (CCPS Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety 2007 and the requirements of COMAH) using HFL Consulting’s assessment tool, INSIGHT Lifecycle®.

INSIGHT Lifecycle® is designed to accurately identify areas where management practices can be improved. Taking into consideration legislative requirements and best practice guidance from around the world, it provides a detailed understanding of the workings of systems and underpinning processes to develop strategies for sustainably safe and efficient operations. Our consultants and engineers can use this to help clients build world class process safety management systems.

Notably, our PSM audits can cover all 20 elements listed in the CCPS Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety, making them of particular relevance to US operations and COMAH and SEVESO sites in the UK and Europe.

PSM Frameworks, Control Systems & Benchmarking

Policy Deployment