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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Process safety: build assurance

Process safety: build assurance
Article Type:
Publication Date:
New Zealand

"It can't happen here" are the most dangerous words in safety, an Australian speaker told the Safety360 conference. Trish Kerin, director of the IChemE Safety Centre in Melbourne, said the phrase needs to be replaced with "It could happen here", along with acknowledgment that your lag indicators do not indicate your future.

There is, she said, always a gap between procedure and practice. The question is: how far apart is that gap? To get an answer, do not seek reassurance by asking "Is everything OK?" as the response will invariably be "Yes, all good".

Instead, she advises to build assurance by asking questions which look for problems. "Never ask for feedback and do nothing with it. You'll have done more damage than if you'd just stayed in your office."

She advised delegates to ask open questions: What are you doing? What could go wrong? What could be done to prevent it? How could we do this task more safely? Listen with genuine interest, and give the person permission to solve the problem themselves.

She described process safety as not only loss of containment - the traditional definition - but also loss of control in general. She argued that many transport incidents should be regarded as process safety failures as they involve high consequence, low probability, and loss of control.

Everyone from operators to the boardroom needs to grasp the essentials of process safety, and to ignore any process safety engineer who claims the subject is too complex for anyone else to understand. "We decided process safety is all about leadership. Leaders step outside the boundaries. Managers work within them."

Asked how to engage leaders in process safety, Kirin suggested showing process safety risks separately from an organisation's standard health & safety risk matrix. "A risk matrix will hide the potential for big incidents because their probability is so low. Elevate process safety on its own. There's no point in reporting LTIFR without looking at your process safety risks."

People Mentioned:
Trish Kerin
Organisations Mentioned:
IChemeE Safety Centre
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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