CCPS Releases Consensus Process Safety Metrics

The Center for Chemical Process Safety (www.aiche.org/ccps) released a 44-page document and a related Process Safety Incident Evaluation Tool on Jan. 4, completing a two-year process to develop a common set of process safety metrics. Occupational injury and illness metrics aren't optimal for gauging the effectiveness of a company's process safety program -- a point underscored by the 2005 BP refinery disaster in Texas City, Texas. The Baker Panel that investigated the BP explosion noted the lack of good metrics and recommended that industry develop a consensus set of leading and lagging indicators for process safety performance by refining and chemical processing industries, CCPS noted.

"Companies that use the new metrics will be able to collect data about the performance of their process safety management programs at sufficient precision to enable them to track changes in performance over time," said CCPS Director Scott Berger. "Also, by broad use of a common system of metrics, companies will be able to compare performance and roll up their results to develop overall industry trends."

CCPS is a not-for-profit corporate membership center within the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE, www.aiche.org), having been founded in 1985 shortly after the 1984 Bhopal incident to develop technology and management practices that mitigate or eliminate chemical process accidents. Organizations involved in developing the new metrics included the American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, OSHA, Britain's Health and Safety Executive, the United Steelworkers, the European Process Safety Centre, and Conservation of Clean Air and Water in Europe.

"With nearly 50 industrial and academic process safety experts from the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, and India participating in this effort, companies can truly benefit worldwide from these new metrics," said Tim Overton, chief process safety engineer for The Dow Company and chairman of the CCPS Metrics committee. "If adopted broadly, the new CCPS metrics will be useful to our company by providing a means for benchmarking performance relative to other companies, as well as to drive internal improvements to process safety management systems."

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