Driving Safer Operations

by , , | Aug 18, 2021 | Operational Excellence, Safety

Jim Cahill

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

At the 4C Health, Safety & Environmental conference in Austin, Emerson’s Ed Schodowski and Doug White presented on ways to address safety issues that relate to process , loss of containment and occupational trends, regulations and other factors that affect plants.

Ed opened showing a Chemical Safety Board video showing an accident at a Philadelphia refinery caused by a pipe loss of containment issue at an elbow in the pipe. Wireless non-intrusive corrosion monitoring at the elbow perhaps could have helped avoid this accident.

Safety incidents can affect occupational safety, community, environment and financial performance. API RP 754 defines a safety event classification for Tier 1 through Tier 4. Tier 1 is the highest is the loss of primary containment.

From a regulatory standpoint, OSHA regulates and investigates inside the fence lines and the EPA outside the fence lines. Cybersecurity is a growing concern and regulated by Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

OSHA CPL 03-00-021 National Emphasis Program (NEP) looks at Process Safety Management (PSM) and includes 14 categories. Some of these include mechanical integrity, process hazards analysis, management of change, emergency planning and response, and operating procedures to name a few.

OSHA has RAGAGEP, Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice. ISA84 is a functional safety standard and is incorporated in the IEC 61511 global safety standard. OSHA placing increased emphasis on complying with RAGAREP for both design and operation of process equipment.

API RP 584API RP 584 looks at the integrity of operating windows and includes the normal operating envelope, the safe operating envelope and the safe design envelope. The EPA requires a risk management plan (REP).

Refining accidents have cost up to a billion dollars in losses, not including the production losses from downtime. It just reflects the plant asset damages and repairs.

Leading causes of loss of containment accidents include piping systems, tanks, pumps, and fired heaters.

Technology can play a role in getting early notification of issues before the safety incident occurs. It starts with more data collection from wireless sensors measuring areas such as pressure relief valve releases, rotating equipment monitoring, corrosion monitoring, and other asset monitoring. The data is fed to operational analytics applications to distill the data and provide recommendations on a solution to address the issue.

A layered approach is critical to process safety risk mitigation. Layers can include:

  • Basic Process Chemistry and Components
  • Process Design
  • Staff Training and Procedures
  • Equipment Maintenance and Monitoring Practices
  • Basic Process Control Systems and Alarm Management
  • Safety Shutdown Systems
  • Relief Systems

Visit the Plantweb Digital Ecosystem section on Emerson.com for technologies and solutions to help drive safer operations.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.