Process Safety: Are You Prepared for Your Worst Safety Nightmare?
Every business has their worst nightmare when it comes to workplace safety. Massive chemical releases, explosions, and fires are the most common safety nightmares that could result in a catastrophe in which workers get injured or killed, and the business facility destroyed or badly damaged. Process safety management is vital for managing different serious risks associated with processes involving highly hazardous substances. It aims to prevent catastrophic releases of flammable, toxic, or explosive chemicals. There are a number of requirements that companies handling highly hazardous chemicals have to meet to enhance the safety of their workers and the facility. Below is an overview of the most important factors to consider.
Prestart-Up Safety Review
If you intend to perform a regulated process in a new substantially modified facility, ensure that the design specifications meet the relevant process safety requirements in the industry. The workers expected to work on these processes also need to be properly trained, and it’s your responsibility to ensure safe operating and maintenance procedures. Emergency planning and response are also important. In line with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ensure you comply with all the relevant safety guidelines. You can install post and chain barriers in the workplace to encourage your workforce and visitors to maintain a safe distance from one another hence prevent further transmission of the virus.
Most catastrophes often result when temporary changes are applied in the processes. Experts recommend using specific forms to document any changes and their potential health and safety impacts. You should set and monitor the expected time limits for these temporary changes and the relevant steps for returning equipment and processes to their original conditions. This also requires that the workers involved in the process be properly trained.
Pieces of equipment used in the processing, storage, and handling of highly hazardous chemicals should be designed, manufactured, installed, and properly maintained to minimize and eliminate the risks of accidental releases. You should also create and adhere to the written procedures used to inspect and test equipment.
In the event of a catastrophe or a near miss, an incident investigation is vital to understand the cause of the incident to determine the necessary mitigation measures hence preventing possible recurrence. The investigation should begin as soon as possible, usually within 48 hours from the time of the incident. The findings should be presented in a written report describing the incident, why it happened, and the proper recommendations that should be implemented to prevent it in the future.
Hot Work Permit
You’ll need a hot work permit for hot work projects on or near covered processes such as welding. The permit is necessary to ensure the projects are conducted in safe environments and safe practices.
Every company that deals with highly hazardous chemicals should have an emergency action plan containing the procedures for both small and large releases. The plan should include information such as who is responsible for what, when, how, and where to evacuate in case of an emergency. It should be simple and clear to avoid confusion. Ensure that the workforce is aware of the procedures and is properly trained on the steps to take. You can schedule for drills to assess your workers’ preparedness.