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Reduce Risk and Cost with a Lifecycle Approach to Process Safety

By Pete Skipp, Rockwell Automation |

Better upfront planning and management can lead to safer, more productive processes throughout every phase of operation A standards-based approach to process safety — one that actively addresses risks across a plant’s lifespan — can lead to safer chemical processes, fewer safety functions and lower operating costs. The problem, however, is that too few companies employ this approach, and expose themselves to greater risk of a catastrophic incident as a result. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB; Washington, D.C.; www.csb.gov) pointed to this problem in a video that examined process safety in the 10 years following the major petroleum-refinery explosion in Texas City. The video cited multiple instances where risks went unaddressed in chemical processing operations, sometimes resulting in fatal incidents. A CSB official also said every incident his organization investigated in the 10 years after the Texas City incident was preventable. “There has not been one investigation we’ve done where we found the incidents were unavoidable,” the official said. Today, as many companies in the chemical process industries (CPI) look to replace decades-old safety-related technologies, they have an opportunity to put an end to this trend…
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