Roundup of Process Safety Thoughts and Ideas

As we did with the recent energy efficiency post, I wanted to highlight a few key points made in past IEC 61511 safety lifecycle-related posts. This global safety standard provides a performance-based methodology to plan and execute your process safety efforts through the lifecycle of your manufacturing process.

A great place to begin is with a post, Adopting the IEC 61511 Safety Lifecycle Standard, which points to a comprehensive article, Setting the Standard–how process plants can benefit through proper and careful adoption of the IEC 61511 safety standard.

A theory being discussed about the frequency and severity of plant explosions and safety incidents is that there is confusion between personal and process safety. I highlighted some points made by safety professionals in the Process Safety Management (1000+) LinkedIn group, in a post, Confusing Personal and Process Safety? I distilled many of the thoughts shared:

…personal safety has very intuitive, understandable metrics such as lost time accidents and near misses. Process safety needs better measures. The frequency of incidents is much lower, but the impact is often great, or even catastrophic.

The post also shares a number of links to articles and presentations that the safety professionals offered to support their views. If you’re new to process safety, it’s worth your time to follow the links and immerse in the IEC 61511 guidance that others have shared.

Having a process safety program that’s can be tested and verified over time requires solid up front planning and design. In a post, Clear and Concise Safety Requirements Specifications, I share some ideas from Emerson’s Andy Crosland on what information should and should not be in this document.

Having a robust safety program requires competency of all the people responsible at every stage of the safety lifecycle. In a post, Ways to Build Process Safety Competency, it highlights recent presentations from safety experts at exida and Kenexis. The post includes links to an excellent 6-part narrated presentation series by Emerson’s Mike Boudreaux on the IEC 61511 safety lifecycle including an introduction, functional safety basics, safety lifecycle management, analysis phase, implementation phase, and operation phase.

As process manufacturers adopt the IEC 61511 safety lifecycle, some common misconceptions arise from time to time. Examples include who can do the work on the safety instrumentation, the SIL [safety integrity level] rating of a particular sensor, final element or logic solver in a safety instrumentation function, and more. The post, Five Common Misconceptions about Functional Safety addresses and clarifies some of these.

These few posts scratch the surface of this critically important area of process manufacturing. I hope at least a few of the now 100 safety category posts, can help advance your knowledge if you have a role in one or more spots throughout the safety lifecycle.

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