During my years at the United States Chemical Safety Board (CSB) I learned that three types of process companies exist. I realize that I’m being simplistic here but hear me out.
The first type of company doesn’t understand the hazards of its operations. It lacks suitable process safety programs and suffers serious accidents with dire consequences. We saw a lot of those companies at the CSB.
The second type of company does understand the hazards and the regulations. It has excellent safety programs and quality people but still experiences incidents, some minor and some very serious. These incidents (fires and explosions) cause lots of frustration and expense for company management!
The third type of company understands the hazards and the regulations. It has excellent safety programs and quality people. It doesn’t have any serious incidents.
Any company in the business of processing hazardous chemicals should strive to become the third type of company.
Based on my many years in the chemical industry and my ten years at the CSB, I have developed my “top ten” rules for process safety success.