Making process safety more manageable!

Where to start?

At times, managing a process safety programme can seem overwhelming.  As well as ensuring that management systems are being adhered to across sites that might span different continents and be further complicated by diverse cultural and legal systems, they also must be fit for purpose in an ever-evolving manufacturing environment.  The need to validate these systems with audits at site level can feel onerous for an often small and thinly stretched team.

So can we make process safety more manageable?

Delivering a systematic appraisal of the programme and auditing it on the ground to ensure that site practices are truly reflecting the overarching principles laid down, should ideally be partly embedded in the day-to-day operations to make it achievable.  Breaking down the tasks into bite-sized chunks and engaging different parts of the organisation to assist in the legwork, can help facilitate effective implementation. In order to decide how best to do this, there are some key considerations.

Key considerations

  1. Assessing Organisational Structure: Understand the structure of your organisation and identify relevant departments, teams, or functional areas that are involved in process safety.
  2. Identify Key PSM Elements: Determine the key elements or components of PSM that are priority to your organisation, based on industry standards. This may include elements such as process hazard analysis, operating procedures, employee training, mechanical integrity, management of change, emergency planning, and more.
  3. Establish Responsibility and Ownership: Assign responsibility for each PSM element to the respective departments, functional areas or subject matter experts. Clearly communicate the ownership of each element to ensure accountability and engagement.
  4. Break Down Each Element: For each PSM element, break it down into manageable tasks or activities that can be accomplished by those assigned responsibility. These tasks should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Consider the resources, expertise, and capabilities of each department when assigning tasks.
  5. Define Milestones and Timelines: Establish milestones and timelines for completing the tasks associated with each PSM element. This helps create a sense of progress and ensures that the implementation is moving forward in a structured manner.
  6. Foster Collaboration and Communication: Encourage collaboration and communication between the departments or functional areas involved in PSM. Facilitate regular meetings, workshops, or discussions to share progress, address challenges, and exchange best practices. This helps break down silos and promotes a holistic approach to process safety.
  7. Provide Training and Support: Offer training and support to employees involved in implementing PSM elements. This can include training on specific PSM requirements, procedures, risk assessment techniques, and any other relevant topics. Provide access to resources, guidelines, and tools that can assist them in their tasks.
  8. Monitor and Review Progress: Regularly monitor the progress of each department or functional area in implementing their assigned PSM tasks. Conduct periodic reviews or audits to assess compliance, identify gaps, and evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented measures. Use this feedback to refine and improve the approach as needed.
  9. Celebrate Achievements: Recognise and celebrate milestones and achievements reached in the implementation of PSM. This helps maintain motivation and engagement among employees, fostering a positive safety culture within the organisation.

By breaking down PSM into manageable components and assigning responsibilities to different parts of the organisation, you can foster a shared commitment to process safety and facilitate effective implementation across the board. Remember to tailor the approach to the specific needs and structure of your organisation.

Create a living database

At OpenPSM, we’ve recognised the complexities of creating a systematic approach.  Our software helps companies to understand the robustness of their management systems and see where gaps exist.  We help break auditing tasks down into mini projects, to make it easier for all staff to record findings and further actions in a central repository.  The system creates a living database for the organisation, showing an up-to-date snapshot of what has been achieved, whilst all the time mapping progress against best practice guidance and providing a status update of the journey to continuous improvement via an inbuilt maturity model.

To understand more about how OpenPSM can help you make your PSM programme for manageable, please get in touch today!