Process safety training plan

The availability of training material for process safety managers is being investigated by a Work Group of the Responsible Care Process Safety Forum, aiming to ensure that SAQA accredited training material is available to CAIA members.

The 14 USA OSHA Process Safety Elements on which training should be focussed, were consigned priority levels and the Working Group is drafting a table of available course material locally and internationally. The forum is part of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).

The Responsible Care Process Safety Audit Guide will likewise be brought in line with the 14 USA OSHA Process Safety elements. Since the USA document was primarily developed for large manufacturing sites, and is not fully applicable to smaller CAIA member companies like warehouses and administrative centres.

Process Safety Forum members will assist with reviewing the document. Mining site audits using the Degussa Peroxide storage requirements were found to be useful and effective, commented a consultant, Nigel Coni.

Forum members noted in their August meeting that process design and procedure alone could not ensure safety, unless operators also cultivated strong health and safety cultures on every site.

Incident reports shared

The Forum has undertaken to discuss and share experiences and concerns arising from process safety related incidents. A standardised report sequence in PowerPoint format was adopted, and inclusion of photographs and drawings are encouraged.

The basic format includes an incident report (statement of what happened), incident description, (what, who, where, when, how), photos or illustrations, damage caused, causes found, and recommendations.

Sasol shared information on their company’s more elaborate process safety incident severity index reporting system with Forum members. The Sasol Severity Index uses 13 factors to evaluate incidents, taking into account consequences of the incident as well as factors like potential injuries and impacts on corporate reputation.

Forum members agree that it remains a challenge to get ‘near miss’ reports from employees. Some operators resort to recording potential incidents in an annual review session.

Incident reporting on a no-blame basis is traditional in mining, and that mature managers do not promote a blame culture, which is proven to be effective only in hiding incident data, and ineffective in promoting true safety performance.

Diligent operators should also get incident data from other plants with similar processes in order to learn from those.

The next Process Safety Forum meeting will take place at the CAIA office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on 5 November 2009.

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