What Managers Need To Know About Functional Safety

Feb 22, 2018

[:en][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][:zh][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]No! They are not Inherently Safe!

A collaborative robot is intended to work “collaboratively” with a person. i.e. share a common workspace. It is force and speed limited by design to minimize any potential hazard. Collaborative robots fit the application where the task cannot be easily or cost effectively automated. They are easy to deploy, program and repurpose. Collaborative robots are new to everyone including the standards agencies.

A hazard and risk assessment is required that assesses the robot and the environment that it is deployed in. Just as any other robot, things such as collisions, speed, type of end effector and worksite need to be evaluated. Collaborative robots have their own sorts of collisions and hazards. They may not be as severe, but they still exist.

This all comes down to risk and the amount of risk that you are willing to accept! The diagram below shows the high-level steps for doing a Hazard and Risk Assessment. When following the steps, if you assess the risk and find it to be acceptable (your companies acceptable risk norms) then you are done. No need to add any risk reduction.

The next best approach is to determine if protective measures other than a Safety Function can reduce the risk to an acceptable level. If not, then you must assign a SIL and implement a safety function that will provide the required risk reduction.

exida can effectively train your team to perform machine hazard and risk assessments to identify all possible hazards and estimate the risk for each hazard. Specifically, exida coaches you through the process of evaluating the risk, developing and implementing risk reduction options. exida can also educate your team in multiple approaches to SIL target selection. These are just some of the things exida does to ensure you are on the right path![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] [:]

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