The UKs Petroleum Institute Association (UKPIA) has announced it plans to develop a rigid process safety framework following the Buncefield disaster of 2005.
The associations key criticism of the Buncefield and Texas City explosions brings about the need for the industry to take a leadership position on process safety.
Upon investigation UKPIA finds a lack of comprehensive understanding of process safety against operational safety.
In occupational safety everyone can go about making up time for lost working hours and events of that nature, which can be monitored to see if things are improving, Chris Hunt, director general of the UKs Petroleum Industry Association, explains. Process safety must be understood and the metrics must be monitored to identify the challenges to prevent catastrophic events like Buncefield.
A series of workshops attended by CEOs are underway in the high hazard sector, underlining what process safety should be all about, such as competency in the board room to fully grasp all aspects of it.
The culture in companies, the so-called no-bad-news-culture, means no constructive feedback is generated after processes are failing, as personnel work around the problem rather than stop the production process, Hunt notes.
Companies circumvent the issues at cost. The impact of Buncefield incident on downstream oil in the UK has comes in terms of financial investment made to instruments in terminals and refineries, improvements to bunding and tertiary containment, and management processes.
While companies have been operating their own forms of process safety, discrepancies still exist.
What we are doing is trying to get a common vision of a framework of what process safety should look like. Were developing this framework soon, endorsed by chemical industry associations, UK tank storage associations and pipeline companies, Hunt says.
There are process safety forums for trade associations to join upstream oil trade associations and nuclear industry trade associations to see how they can cross-share incidents and the lessons learned.
Whats new is that we are bringing together thoughts and methodologies across downstream areas initially to get to an agreed understanding of what process safety is all about and ensure it is put into practice in high hazard environments.
Chris Hunt will give a presentation on Post Buncefield and Texas City where next for process safety? on the morning of 24 March at StocExpo Europe at the Ahoy, Rotterdam.