Process Safety Management

Process Safety Management (PSM) addresses the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and processes and integrates technologies, procedures and management practices. In the US this is a legal OSHA requirement (OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119) however it is a standard that can be applied globally to a variety of industrial sectors.
Two of the most important elements of a good PSM program are:

  • Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), also known as HAZOP – defined by OSHA as ‘an organized and systematic effort to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with the processing or handling of highly hazardous chemicals. A PHA provides information which will assist employers and employees in making decisions for improving safety and reducing the consequences of unwanted or unplanned releases of hazardous chemicals. A PHA is directed toward analyzing potential causes and consequences of fires, explosions, releases of toxic or flammable chemicals and major spills of hazardous chemicals. The PHA focuses on equipment, instrumentation, utilities, human actions (routine and nonroutine), and external factors that might impact the process. These considerations assist in determining the hazards and potential failure points or failure modes in a process.’
  • Management of Change (MOC) – as defined by OSHA ‘To properly manage changes to process chemicals, technology, equipment and facilities, one must define what is meant by change. In this process safety management standard, change includes all modifications to equipment, procedures, raw materials and processing conditions other than “replacement in kind.” These changes need to be properly managed by identifying and reviewing them prior to implementation of the change. For example, the operating procedures contain the operating parameters (pressure limits, temperature ranges, flow rates, etc.) and the importance of operating within these limits. While the operator must have the flexibility to maintain safe operation within the established parameters, any operation outside of these parameters requires review and approval by a written management of change procedure.

Management of change covers such as changes in process technology and changes to equipment and instrumentation. Changes in process technology can result from changes in production rates, raw materials, experimentation, equipment unavailability, new equipment, new product development, change in catalyst and changes in operating conditions to improve yield or quality. Equipment changes include among others change in materials of construction, equipment specifications, piping pre-arrangements, experimental equipment, computer program revisions and changes in alarms and interlocks. Employers need to establish means and methods to detect both technical changes and mechanical changes.’

Service Description

We will come to your site and put on a five day workshop to review Process Safety Management Best Practices with key personnel on your site. This is an excellent tool to create awareness within your organization, since many sites do not fully understand requirement and implementation of a PSM program. Nor do they understand that current Best Practices, and regulations, require a formal PSM program.
The workshop covers the following topics:

  • What is PSM?
  • Industry regulations and best practices
  • Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)
  • Management of Organizational Change (MOOC)
  • Case studies from client facility

For additional information or to book a workshop please contact us.

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UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.