Process Safety Management

Process Safety Management is the application of management principles and systems to the identification, understanding, and control of process hazards to protect employees, facility assets and the environment. Unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids or gases in industries leads to accidents which in turn creates the possibility of disaster. Process design, Process technology, Process changes, Operational & Maintenance activities , non-routine activities & procedures, Emergency preparedness plans & procedures, Training programs, and other elements that affect the process are all considered in the evaluation.

Elements of Process Safety Management (OISD GDN 206)

1.Safety Organisation

2.Employee Participation

3.Process Safety Information

4.Process Hazard Analysis

5.Operating Procedures



8.Pre-Start up Safety Review

9.Mechanical Integrity Work Permit

10.Management of Change

11.Incident Investigation and analysis

12.Emergency Planning and Response

13.Compliance Audit

14.Occupational Health

15.Off-the Job safety

16.Customers and Products Road & transport

Organization Setup for the safety management system in the facility includes.

  • Safety policy
  • Safety committees
  • Enforcement of safety
  • Monitoring of systems
  • Safety promotion

Employee participation

Employees are required to be an active part of the process and written programs need to document what roles employees play, their involvement in the development of the programs, and continuing participation in the process. 

  • To determine the frequency and content of initial and refresher training.
  • To develop and review operating and maintenance procedures.
  • In incident investigations regarding the covered process.

Process safety information

Physical, chemical, and toxicological information related to the chemicals, process, and equipment. It is used to document the configuration of a process, its characteristics, its limitations, and  used data for process hazard analyses.

  • Material and Energy balance calculations
  • Relevant consensus standards
  • Materials of construction
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams
  • Block flow diagrams
Process hazard analysis (PHA)
Key Word: Design Deficiency and lack of Information

Process hazard analysis (PHA)

One of the most Technical elements of PSM is Process Hazard Analysis, which is a “Catastrophic” release – meaning a major uncontrolled emission, fire, or explosion involving one or more highly hazardous chemicals, that presents serious danger to employees in the workplace. It requires engineers and maintenance leaders to analyze the consequences of safety failures.


Operating procedures

There are plenty of potential chemical hazards following turnarounds and emergency shutdowns, which needs to be regularly assessed, and companies should have plans to keep everyone safe.


Workers involved in processes with hazardous chemicals need to be trained in an efficient and competent manner from a reliable source and also be well aware of safety procedures to be followed. The training should be a well-documented one which includes the following.

  • Identity of the employee.
  • Date of training.
  • Means to verify that employee understood the training


All employees and contractors must be well informed with the risk they are exposed to in the workplace. They must be well trained and aware of all precautions and measures to be taken.

Pre-startup safety review

OSHA expects employers to perform pre-startup safety reviews for both new and modified facilities. This rule applies even if the procedural changes only affect a single component or process.

Mechanical integrity

The employer shall develop and maintain a master list of all equipment specifically covered by the standard, and equipment that is important for safety of the process. Periodic, document inspections are required for several systems, including:

  • Pressure vessels
  • Storage tanks
  • Piping systems
  • Ventilation systems
  • Pumps
  • Rotating equipment
  • Heat exchange equipment
  • Emergency shutdown systems.
  • Emergency power supply equipment.

Work permit

The employee must possess permit when exposed to high heat,Welding, cutting, braising & make sure only trained personnel perform these functions. Training must be provided and state these documents as when and required.

Management of Change

In the process safety management standard, change includes all modifications to equipment, procedures, raw materials, and processing conditions other than “replacement in kind.” If the operator finds any change in the operating parameters, a review and approval by a written management of change procedure is to be followed.

Create formalized system to review all changes to process areas including:

  • Raw material changes / substitutions
  • Personnel changes
  • Process parameters Facility changes (HVAC / roof / fire protection, etc

 Incident investigation

This is usually done to avoid mishaps from recurring by learning from past experiences. The incidents OSHA expects employers to recognize and to investigate are the types of events that resulted in or could reasonably have resulted in a catastrophic release. These events are sometimes referred to as “near misses,” meaning that a serious consequence did not occur, but could have happened.

Incident Investigation
Incident Investigation

Emergency planning and response

Emergency preparedness need to be inculcated in all employers and always be alert of the sudden mishap which can lead to major accidents.

  • Call in all resources and make plan comprehensive:
  • Information Technology (IT) Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Business Continuity Plan
  • Security
  • Communications / Public Relations
  • Employee Assistance

Compliance audits

An audit is a technique to gather all information to verify compliance with standards. It is always beneficial to retain the recent audit reports for ready reference you can always:

  • Ask for the audit protocol ahead of time
  • Have a system in place to identify the location of all PSM documentation
  • Identify what’s in or out of audit scope
  • Ask for money to correct audit items before the audit is conducted
  • Prepare management for report

Occupational Health

Plans and policies depends on the adaptability of employees on maintaining health.

  • Structured occupational health monitoring
  • Protection from hazard at work environment
  • Administrative control exercise to prevent hazard exposure 

Off-the Job Safety

Encouraging employees to be safely away from the work help to preserve skills

  • Analysis/reporting of the off-the-job injuries
  • Awareness through – news letters, magazines, quiz, contests
  • Policy Encourage covering off-the-job safety of employees

Customer and Products

Management availability to their customer  intended product without causing any harm to human and the environment

  • Customer and Product safety goals
  • Products Safety Procedures
  • Customer service Education & Awareness
  • Activities related with Product and Customer Safety
  • Investigation of incidents during product handling, transportation and at customer premises

Road & Transport

To ensure safety of product and human beings involved directly or indirectly, it is essential that such vehicles are designed as per standards and driven by competent personnel.

  • Vehicle (accordance with petroleum rules)
  • Creating a road safety culture
  • Transport safety system
  • Transport safety activities
  • Defensive driving
  • Safe driving assurance
  • Emergency rescue operations