Emerging Themes From International Process Safety Symposium



Great conference on Process Safety this week, organised by the Mary Kay OConnor Process Safety Center. This is the 21st annual international symposium and it started on bittersweet note following the recent news of Dr Sam Mannan’s passing. Many remembered the key role he had in driving the centre forward and spoke of his fantastic energy, enthusiasm, deep process safety knowledge and commitment to his students. Everyone was inspired to support the centre and push it forwards along the path he has set to create a lasting legacy.

If you want to know more about Dr Mannan, MKO has posted a Houston Chronicle article at: http://psc.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/Sam_Mannan_Report_2018.pdf

Two interesting themes emerged during the course of the Symposium: increasing recognition of the way process safety intent can degrade when well-specified equipment and processes go into service; and the role of technology to help monitor and manage this situation.

There was a great presentation called “After the Hazop”, which used incident case studies to illustrate the challenge of process hazard management once detailed design is complete. Real cases were presented that had happened at following phases of plant life cycle to illustrate the point: Construction; Plant / Process Changes; Maintenance; and Ongoing safe operations.

There was also a lot of discussion and interest in papers relating to big data and the use of data historians to provide (near) real-time view on the health of process-safety critical equipment and systems.

I was pleased to present a paper relating to these themes, covering two case studies on Operational Risk Management system implementations and how these are being used to connect process safety to the dynamic frontline using process safety barrier models.

If you have a perspective on the themes of the conference, I would be very pleased to hear from you. 

I also had the pleasure of presenting the findings of the 2018 Process Safety survey to the Steering Committee of the MKO Process Safety Center on Monday.

The survey – done with the support of the centre – reveals the insights from more than 100 senior industry leaders on process safety and operational risk management. The survey reveals the impact the recent low oil price is still having in the field, as well as disconnects between process safety intent and reality. Part two of the survey – released this week – reveals expectations that improved use of technology will make companies and their work teams safer. You can access the reports at:

Simon Jones is the Head of Professional Services for Petrotechnics LTD. With more than 20 years of experience,  in chemical, oil, and gas industries, Simon leads the consulting practice in the fields of operational management, safe systems of work and operational risk management in client oil and gas facilities around the world. Simon’s particular interest is in the potential information technology offers to enhance asset integrity and improve operational performance.

Simon’s background is in process safety – he holds an engineering Master’s degree in Process Safety and Loss Prevention from Sheffield University in the UK and is actively involved in the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) European Regional network.

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