If you’re a manager in the process industries then you should be familiar with the concept of Functional Safety and the need to have well defined processes and procedures in place. If not, then how else will you be able to ensure that your Safety Instrumented System and plant is operating safely.
Plant Managers rely on their team to provide the expertise and knowledge to keep the plant operating normally and efficiently. Therefore, when it comes to safety, Functional Safety Management is really no different from normal management: to assess, plan, execute, monitor &/or revise. Or is it? The key difference is that, in the world of safety, getting things wrong can have disastrous consequences, in terms of the potential for loss of life, destruction of assets/property, environmental impacts, financial loss and detrimental company image. However, most key spending decisions will need the approval of the plant manager or higher, depending upon the amount to be spent, the size of the organization and its culture. Not normally the process safety manager or the mechanical integrity manager or whoever is responsible for process safety.
Therefore, when it comes to spending on proactive, prevanatitive maintenance, is the plant manager and/or senior manager(s) involved competent to make those decisions. Competent, in terms of fully understanding the consequences of not spending the money and/or trying to cut costs and/or delay the maintenance spend on mechanical integrity. Especially if the plant hasn’t had any incidents. We at exida have heard this many times, as justification for not following through on preventative maintenance. The Chemical Safety Board has many good examples of where this thinking and short-sightedness has back-fired on companies; therefor, if you think Safety’s expensive then try and accident and see how much an accident can cost.
The question then becomes, do you really know what Functional Safety Management and planning is all about and the risks of not implementing a plan? If this blog has piqued your interest then why not check out some of our webinars on the subject.