The Process Safety Fitness Test

Download Whitepaper:  The first step in any athlete’s performance improvement plan is a thorough assessment of his current fitness level. The baseline abilities of muscle, heart and lung must be evaluated—perhaps in consultation with a medical specialist—to establish the baseline readiness of core systems to respond to new training demands. Our runner’s current fitness level, together with his ultimate performance goals, will identify the gaps to be addressed through an updated training plan.

In the case of our plant’s safety systems, the assessment phase begins with a thorough updating of process conditions and risk factors. Safety fitness (risk reduction) goals should take into account the plant’s latest key performance indicators (KPIs) in the form of production rates, quality standards and environmental measures as well as any configuration changes that may have impacted the safety system’s ability to effectively reduce risk.

 

Get Up to Speed on Industry Standards Next up for our runner is a review of the latest training methodologies, which for our plant’s safety instrumented systems means the IEC’s 61508 and 61511 standards and other applicable codes. Importantly, some two-thirds of safety instrumented systems in use today predate these standards.

And while the U.S. implementation of IEC 61511, ANSI/ISA 84, includes a “grandfather clause” for older systems, its insistence that operating companies ensure that safety systems are “designed, maintained, inspected, tested, and operating in a safe manner” leaves no room for less-than-rigorous safety system discipline. Further, although the IEC SIS standards are not legal requirements per se, their growing acceptance as descriptors of industry best practices means that non-compliance may have very real liability implications in the event of an incident. And in some regions and industries, compliance already carries the force of law. On the other side of the ledger, demonstrated compliance can help operating companies to reduce insurance premiums.

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