Process safety management 'can protect supply chains'

09 February 2012

Posted by Samuel Couratin

UK supply chains could be protected more effectively from risk through the use of process safety management benchmarking, it is claimed.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has suggested that such strategies, coupled with high asset integrity standards and good supply chain relationships

Jill Joyce, the organization's Senior Policy and Research Adviser, explained: "Major disasters like Seveso, Piper Alpha, and more recently Buncefield, the Gulf of Mexico oil leak and the explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant have highlighted the importance of process safety integrity."

According to the health and safety expert, research carried out by Cardiff University and Oxford Brookes University and commissioned by the IOSH looked at the relationship between supply chains, regulation and health and safety standards.

She called on businesses to ensure they consider safety integrity requirements and functional safety to establish whether systems will be effective when required, where potential hazards and to prepare a specification.

Ms Joyce advocated testing safety preparations and ensuring that decommissioning takes place in case hazardous material needs to be disposed of.

"For major hazard installations and chemical manufacturers, process safety risks will be a significant aspect of business risk, asset integrity and reputation," she added, pointing out that a range of established standards exist for process safety.

Earlier this month, the importance of a proportionate approach to health and safety management was highlighted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Chair of the HSE, Judith Hackitt, stated during a visit to an oil refinery in Cheshire that apprentice training in this area at the site is helping workers to gain awareness of issues that can be a matter of life or death.

"Working in a major hazard environment is all about respecting the nature of the processes but getting on with the job," she said.

The Stanlow Oil Refinery in Ellesmere Port, run by Essar Oil, is educating workers about the risks connected with hazardous processes and how to operate in a way that is safe and efficient when carrying out tasks.

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