Process Safety Management

1. Process Safety Management (PSM)reliminaries

1.1 Definition

PSM is the proactive identification, evaluation and mitigation or prevention of chemical releases that could occur as a result of failures in processes, procedures, or equipment.

1.2 Purpose

  • Prevent Catastrophic Releases of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
  • Minimize Consequences of Such Releases to Employees and the Community

1.3 Standard (USA)

29 CFR 1910.119 – OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard

2. Content of PSM

Process Safety Information
Process Hazard Analysis
Operating Procedures
Pre-startup Safety Review
Mechanical Integrity
Hot-work Permits
Management of Change
Incident Investigations
Emergency Planning & Response
Compliance Safety Audits

2.1 Process Safety Information

i. Chemicals



Physical Data

Reactivity and Corrosivity

Thermal and Chemical Stability

Effects of Mixing Chemicals

ii. Process

Block flow or process flow diagram
Process chemistry
Maximum intended inventory
Safe upper/lower limits for such items as temperatures, pressures, flows or compositions
Consequences of deviations, e.g. runaway reaction potential

iii. Equipment

Materials of construction
Electrical Classification
Relief system design & design basis
Ventilation system design
Design codes and standards
Material & energy balances
Safety systems

2.2 Process Hazard Analysis

Organized and systematic effort to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with the processing or handling of highly hazardous chemicals

  • Causes/consequences of fires & explosions
  • Releases of toxic or flammable chemicals
  • Major spills of hazardous chemicals
  • Methodology depends on the process & its characteristics
  • PHA METHODS: What If?, Checklist, What If?/Checklist, HAZOP, FMEA, FTA etc

PHA focus on

  • Equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Utilities
  • Human Actions
  • External Factors

PHA must address

  • Hazards of the process
  • Engineering & administrative controls
  • Consequences of failure of controls
  • Facility siting
  • Human factors
  • Evaluate potential effects to on-site personnel from failure of controls
  • Identification of previous incidents

PHA Team

  • Expertise in engineering & process operations
  • One member to have knowledge of & experience with process being evaluated
  • One member knowledgeable in specific PHA methodology used for evaluating the process
  • Other members with specific knowledge: instrumentation, chemistry, etc.

Employer has the responsibility to

  • Establish system for prompt response
  • Ensure timely resolution of findings & recommendations
  • Document actions taken
  • Develop written schedule for completions
  • Complete actions ASAP
  • Communicate actions to affected employees

PHA’s must be conducted as soon as possible for each covered process using compiled PS in an order based on a set of required considerations  and must be updated and revalidated at least every five years and must be retained for the life of the process.

2.3 Operating Procedures

Operating procedures must be in writing and provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities involving covered process consistent with PSI; must include steps for each operating phase, operating limits, safety and health considerations and safety systems and their functions; be readily accessible to employees who work on or maintain a covered process, and be reviewed as often as necessary to assure they reflect current operating practice; and must implement safe work practices to provide for special circumstances such as lockout/tagout and confined space entry.

  • Provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities involved in each covered process consistent with the process safety information
  • Address at least the listed elements
  • Operating procedures readily accessible
  • Reviewed as necessary to reflect current procedures and changes
  • Certified annually as current & accurate
  • Develop & implement safe work practices to provide for the control of hazards during operations, e.g. lockout/tag out/ confined space entry, opening equipment & pipes, facility entry
  • Apply to employees & contractor employees
  • Steps for Each Operating Phase
    • Initial startup, operation, shutdown
    • Temporary & emergency operations, emergency shutdown
    • Startup following shutdowns
    • Operating limits
      • consequences of deviations
      • prevention of deviations
      • Safety & Health Considerations
        • Chemical properties and hazards
        • Precautions to prevent exposure
        • Control measures if contact or airborne exposure occurs
        • Quality controls for raw materials
        • Control of hazardous chemical inventories
        • Special or unique hazards
        • Safety systems & their functions

2.4 Training

  • Process overview
  • Process hazards
  • Operating procedures
  • Emergency procedures
  • Refresher training at least every 3 yrs
  • Documentation

2.5 Contractors

Employer’s Responsibility

  • Evaluate contractor’s safety performance & programs
  • Inform contractor of potential hazards: fire, explosion, toxic release, applicable plant safety rules
  • Develop/Implement safe work practices
  • Evaluate contractor performance

Contractor’s Responsibility

  • Advise employer of any unique work hazards of contracted work
  • Each employee follow all applicable work practices & safety rules of the facility
  • Ensure each employee is trained in necessary work practices
  • Ensure each employee is instructed in known fire, explosion, or toxic release problems related to his/her job
  • Document that understanding of training has been evaluated, verified

2.6 Pre-startup Safety Review

  • Done when:

–      New processes

–      Modified process

  • Pre-startup Review Verifies

–      Construction: conforms to design

–      Procedures: adequate, in place

–      PHA recommendations resolved or implemented

–      Management of change requirements met

–      All affected workers trained

2.7 Mechanical Integrity

  • Pressure vessels, storage tanks
  • Piping systems, components
  • Relief & vent systems, devices
  • Emergency shutdown systems
  • Controls: monitoring devices, sensors, alarms, interlocks
  • Pumps
  • Written procedures
  • Training: process hazards, job tasks
  • Inspections
  • Testing
  • Corrective action
  • Records

2.8 Hot-work Permits

  • Welding, cutting, brazing
  • Control of ignition sources
  • Verify safe conditions
  • Authorization

2.9 Management of Change

  • Establish written procedures
  • Develop management support
  • Evaluate safety of any changes to:
  • process chemicals facility
  • technology equipment
  • MOC Procedures Must Address
  • Everything except “replacement in kind”
  • Temporary as well as permanent changes
  • Technical basis for change
  • Safety & health effects
  • Modified operation procedures
  • Time necessary for change
  • Authorization for change
  • Ways to inform & train workers before change

2.10 Incident Investigations

  • Goals

Identify incident causes and implement steps to prevent reoccurence

  • Implementation
  • Every incident
  • Prompt investigation
  • Knowledgeable team
  • Documentation & report
  • Recommendations & findings
  • Resolutions & corrective actions

2.11 Emergency Planning & Response

  • Develop Emergency Action Plans
  • Pre-plan for catastrophe
  • Train & equip workers
  • Drills

2.12 Compliance Safety Audits

  • Certify all elements of standard
  • Knowledgeable audit team
  • Report & recommendations
  • Address all finding & recommendations
  • Conduct every three years

3.0 Concluding Remarks

In Malaysia, PSM is yet to be part of local legislation. It has nevertheless became part of the best practices adopted by the more established companies, particularly in  oil and gas as well as petrochemical sectors.


2 Responses to Process Safety Management

  1. mohammad ismadi bin mazlan says:

    sir…thank for this,i have assignment to finished about PSM,it is about their requirements and implementations with respects to our practices in malaysia..i dont understand,i hope you can help me..thanks.

  2. Nurrizal Ahmad Imran says:

    Assalamualaikum, I am very much interested in doing research in PSM. However,I have much to learn. Appreciate if you could guide me. My email is

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