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Health & Safety Glossary

Process Safety Management


What is Process Safety Management?

Process safety management is a vital element of employee and environmental protection in industrial processes. 

It is an effective management system that ensures the risk of chemical accidents is minimized from manufacturing to handling. 

As an EHS professional, it is imperative to understand process safety management and how it can be implemented in your workplace.

Process Safety Management (PSM), according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is a set of interrelated elements that works together to manage, control, and prevent accidents or releases of toxic, reactive, or flammable materials. 

The primary goal of PSM is to prevent accidents that may lead to the loss of lives, property damage, environmental harm, and negative publicity. It is a way of proactively identifying, evaluating, and managing hazards in high-risk work environments.

The Importance of Process Safety Management

PSM is a set of procedures and guidelines that aim to minimize the risk of major accidents in the workplace. 

It covers all aspects of a process, including design, operation, and maintenance. PSM programs are typically implemented in industries that deal with highly hazardous chemicals, such as refineries, chemical plants, and petrochemical facilities. 

However, PSM can and should be implemented in any workplace that has potential safety hazards.

There are a number of reasons why PSM is important. First and foremost, it helps minimize the risk of catastrophic incidents. 

Implementing a PSM program can help prevent incidents that can lead to loss of life, injury, property damage, and environmental harm. 

PSM also helps businesses comply with regulations and reduces the likelihood of fines and legal action. 

Finally, PSM can help improve the efficiency of your workplace by identifying areas where safety can be improved, which can lead to increased productivity.

To implement PSM in your workplace, you need to start by conducting a thorough hazard analysis. This involves identifying all the potential hazards associated with your processes and evaluating the likelihood and consequences of each hazard. 

Based on this analysis, you can then develop a plan to control these hazards. This might involve implementing engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Key Elements of Process Safety Management

The key elements of PSM obtained from OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.119 include process safety information, process hazard analysis, management of change, operating procedures, training, contractors, pre-startup safety review, mechanical integrity, emergency planning and response, and compliance auditing. 

Each of these elements plays an important role in creating a thorough and effective PSM program.

The process hazard analysis element of PSM is critical in identifying potential dangers in your facility and how to manage them. It is a comprehensive study of potential hazards of the process and the measures for avoiding them. 

It involves reviewing the process as a system and looking at the potential interactions that could result in unwanted chemical reactions, explosions, or releases. 

Once the hazards are identified, the necessary controls, such as process modifications, updated operability review, etc., should be implemented.

The mechanical integrity element is another crucial aspect of PSM that focuses on equipment maintenance and testing. 

Mechanical integrity ensures that the equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, reducing potential equipment failures. 

The program includes inspections, testing, repair, maintenance, and replacement of equipment, such as pressure vessels, storage tanks, piping systems, pumps, compressors, and other machinery.

The pre-startup safety review (PSSR) element of process safety management ensures that everything is in order before a new facility or process starts. 

This review provides assurance that the equipment and systems were designed, installed, and tested to meet the design specifications before startup. This element is essential for reduced incidents and improved start-up transitions across the plant.

Use EcoOnline to Improve Overall Workplace Safety

Organizations can significantly improve process safety management using a cloud-based workplace safety solution like EcoOnline

EcoOnline makes it easy for organizations to better record hazards in the workplace and streamline risks. It allows companies to maintain checklists and conduct surveys to engage employees and include them in the overall safety planning.