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Denton, United Kingdom

Singh J.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Croft N.,HFL Risk Services Ltd
Institution of Chemical Engineers Symposium Series | Year: 2011

Industrial chemical processes increasingly rely on Electrical/Electronic/ Programmable Electronic (E/E/PE) systems as safety systems. The proportion of automation places high reliability demands on components that make up these systems. Given the hazards associated with chemical manufacturing, reliability of systems which perform safety related functions is of the utmost importance. This aspect has drawn significant attention from the regulators who are encouraging compliance with the current functional safety standards IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 for E/E/PE systems. The process industry standard IEC 61511 follows a safety life cycle approach which begins with risk assessment. In the author's experience, a large number of operators who have completed, or are in the process of evaluating their control and safety system's reliability, do so to 'determine the SIL or the safety integrity level' only. However, the standard is much more than just SIL determination and techniques like Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) can do much more than 'determine' the SIL. Functional safety is not only about SILs but encompasses the whole safety life cycle from the initial risk assessment to operations, maintenance and decommissioning. The vast majority of operators complete the SIL assessment and install the individual elements (sensors, valves etc.) rated for the SIL, and are under the impression that they have a SIL rated safety system in place. SIL is a property of the whole loop; installing the individual 'SIL rated' elements does not necessarily result in a SIL compliant loop. By following the safety life cycle approach, a true SIL compliant safety system is realised. Often some elements of the safety life cycle such as training are not considered at all or ignored. As per the standard, completion of all elements of the safety life cycle is necessary for true compliance. A 'SIL rated Safety Instrumented System (SIS)' on its own does not ensure compliance. This paper uses an example of the risk assessment of a chemical process, which posed hazards of decomposition and thermal runaway, where the functional safety approach was used as a tool to improve the understanding of the process and its hazards. The risk assessment initiated further studies on reaction kinetics and calorimetery. These studies helped to identify the true hazards from the process which resulted in implementing inherent safety principles to some of its aspects, thus eliminating particular initiating events. Also a SIL rated SIS was designed and commissioned to reduce the risk from some initiating events where inherent safety was not practicable. Specially tailored training programs were delivered to ensure familiarity with the safety life cycle at all levels of personnel within the company and to promote further specific training. The paper discusses the use of Hazard Identification (HAZID) and LOPA which was done on the process with the aim of identifying those scenarios which posed significant risk. A further assessment was completed to identify risk reduction measures, including the safety instrumented functions (SIFs). The SIFs were implemented by a custom designed SIS which followed the safety life cycle approach. The result was a safer process with improved efficiency.

Elliott J.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Grindrod S.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Paul Sirett C.,HFL Risk Services Ltd
Institution of Chemical Engineers Symposium Series | Year: 2014

To understand how well human factors are being managed in the UK onshore process industries, HFL Risk Services brought together a group of 10 organisations operating sites which fall within the scope of the COMAH Regulations. The sites were benchmarked on their management of a range of human factors topics. On site workshops involving a multi-disciplined team of personnel from each organisation were facilitated by human factors experts from HFL. The question set used was based on the UK Health and Safety Executive's Human Factors Inspectors' Toolkit. It was found that, whilst many organisations considered human factors to some extent during retrospective accident investigations, few were proactively assessing safety critical tasks to prevent human failure in the first place. Deficiencies were also found under the topics of procedures, competence and safety culture. There was wide variation of the scores within each topic showing that there is opportunity for poorly performing organisations to learn from the high performers. Common areas of strength and opportunities for improvement are described. Many organisations fell well short of meeting recognised good practice indicating that more needs to be done to integrate human factors into process safety management. © IChemE.

Grindrod S.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Hought J.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Fowler A.,HFL Risk Services Ltd
Chemical Engineering Transactions | Year: 2013

If an organisation's PSM system is to be successful and sustainable it requires the commitment of the entire workforce, starting at the top. Process safety is integral to a company's business performance. Without detailed policies, KPIs and effective monitoring and management systems the risk of a major accident and its attendant consequences increases sharply. There is a legal requirement for organisations to demonstrate process safety leadership and yet the recent inaugural PSM benchmarking programme for the chemical industry highlighted a heavy reliance on technicians and engineers to identify and address any problems. Whilst it is essential that competent personnel are charged with process safety, experience has shown that if not properly directed this often leads to reactive compliance, meaning that company resources are not necessarily targeted to best effect. Since it is senior management and board directors who ultimately approve the finance for the implementation of changes and initiatives to underpin safety, it makes sense that they understand how hazards and risks are identified and assessed. As pioneers of the PSM benchmarking programme, HFL Risk Services are an accredited provider for the process safety leadership training course specifically for board members, directors and senior executives. This paper discusses key points from the training course including the business case for Process Safety Management; the requirements of policy deployment, based upon emerging standards and best practice; the value of setting KPIs, the importance of workforce engagement and how to achieve this and the importance and value of Process Safety Improvement Plans to continually reduce risk. © 2013, AIDIC Servizi S.r.l.

Hought J.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Fowler A.,HFL Risk Services Ltd | Grindrod S.,HFL Risk Services Ltd
Chemical Engineering Transactions | Year: 2013

Guidance on best practice for Process Safety exists in the form of HSE documents and literature from the Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG), but in general the high hazard industry's approach to it has been somewhat disjointed. In order to address this, HFL Risk Services, together with the Chemical Industries Association and the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries embarked on what was the first ever Process Safety Management benchmarking programme for UK COMAH sites. The focus of the benchmarking programme was Asset Integrity Management, one of the most fundamental aspects of an effective PSM system and a topic that is of concern on account of the continuing use of ageing plant. Further studies were later carried out across Europe, independently of the UK stakeholders, with 18 sites taking part in all. Whilst is it recognised that countries may operate under differing regulatory requirements and that sites may have differing cultures it emerged that, irrespective of geography or language, the same safety issues arose within benchmarked sites in each of the separate global production plants. The challenge for any dispersed global organisation is to operate a world class process safety management system appropriate for all sites regardless of geographical location or language. It was clear from the research that although there were several instances of world class performance in terms of PSM, there were weaknesses in other areas, most notably Process Safety Leadership. This paper examines the key results of the benchmarking programmes, their implications for the chemical industry as a whole and provides examples of best practice in implementing and sustaining effective safety management system. © 2013, AIDIC Servizi S.r.l.

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