“A polyethylene reactor at the Phillips. Texas neat the Houston Ship Channel on October 23, 1989, high-density polyethylene plastics plant released flammable vapors and exploded, killing 23 people and injuring 130 others. The magnitude of the explosion was equivalent to an earthquake registering 3.5 on the Richter scale, and debris was thrown as far as six miles away.
A safety system interlock in the Formosa plastics plant, Illinois is overridden on April 23, 2004 . Five were killed and two were injured. The company had a second major explosion 18 months later.
These are just a few of the incidents that have occurred during the course of history. But what do all of these events have in common? They were all lacking adequate process safety management.
So what do we mean by “process safety management?” Process safety management, or PSM, is a disciplined framework for managing the integrity of operating systems and processes that handle hazardous materials. This management system has been widely credited for reductions in major accidents and improved process industry performance.
By applying good design, engineering, and operating principles we are better able to prevent and control the release of hazardous materials and energy. Through better controls we are able to avoid the fires, explosions, and toxic releases that result in serious injuries, property damage, lost production, and environmental impacts.
These types of events, however, can only be prevented or mitigated if proper process safety management practices are employed, and in many cases they are not.
The major objective of process safety management (PSM) is to prevent unwanted releases of hazardous chemicals, particularly in areas that could expose workers and the public to serious hazards. An effective PSM programme requires a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating and managing process hazards.
SEN consultants are industry experts in PSM to share their practical experience and knowledge to provide clients with a pragmatic approach to PSM compliance.