Hazard Analysis Works Wonders

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 @ 03:02 PM gHale

By Nicholas Sheble
“There were certain common themes of the notable accidents – Texas City, Flixborough, Bhopal, and others – that occurred in the last 30 years,” said Allen Ormond, ABB’s Principal Lead Safety Consultant and Functional Leader in process safety.

“They are: Inadequate hazard review, inadequate hazard analysis, the installation of pollution control equipment, use of inappropriately or poorly designed equipment, and inadequate indications of process conditions,” Ormond said during a webinar Tuesday entitled “Process Hazards Analysis (PHAs) & Pre-Start-Up Safety Reviews (PSSR) Leadership.”

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Process safety management is big business now and process equipment companies have divisions devoted to stewarding process plant operators through the standards and procedures necessary to assure safe, productive facilities.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation in February 1992 .The Bhopal incident of 1984 was a prime motivator for the guideline. The Bhopal accident in India killed 3,800 people and several thousand suffered permanent injuries or partial disabilities because of the release of methyl isocyanate.

The point of PSM is to prevent and or minimize the frequency and consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals.

The PSM regulation applies to processes which involve certain specified chemicals at or above threshold quantities or involve flammable liquids or gases on-site in one location, in quantities of 10,000 lbs. or more, and processes which involve the manufacture of explosives and pyrotechnics.

It consists of 14 elements of which the theme of Tuesday’s webinar addressed two. The OSHA standard itself is 1910.119 Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals. The regulation is a beast but click here to get a start on understanding it and its many recommendations, clarifications, and interpretations.

Here are the 14 elements of PSM and their respective OSHA standard numbers:
020112ABB Webinar
ABB uses an 8-stage hazard process leveraging proven techniques to identify hazards, assess risks, and develop improvement plans.

Ormond is a Chartered Chemical Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers. He has 36+ years of experience in process safety. He received the Ned Franklin Medal by IChemE in 2010 for outstanding service in the field of safety.

Nicholas Sheble (nsheble@isssource.com) is an engineering writer and technical editor in Raleigh, NC.

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