EHS, Quality, and Operational Risk Management Solution

Management of Change and Pre-Startup Safety Review: AIChE Chats with VisiumKMS’s Mike Bearrow

As more companies in the chemical process and refining industry seek safety management solutions, some pertinent questions come to mind. For example, "How has the approach to process safety developed over the years? What best practices aid in achieving operational excellence? Why is pre-startup safety review (PSSR) equally critical to industrial safety as management of change (MOC)?” and finally, “What role does the AIChE Spring Meeting & Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS) and the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) play in developing process safety?” More companies are turning to VisiumKMS for solutions in operational risk management. Their software and services aid efforts necessary to comply with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s), Process Safety Management (PSM), Standard and the Risk Management Program (RMP) Rules.

How have you seen companies’ approach to process safety culture develop over the past few years?

More and more companies in the chemical process and refining industry are choosing process safety management solutions that are best of breed instead of choosing a monolithic, 50+ module solution that is not designed for operations or production. Companies are deciding to use commercial best-of-breed solutions that are designed by process safety professionals instead of trying to design and maintain a solution themselves or use one that is not really fit for purpose. Large and small companies alike have found that solutions vital for process safety and risk management execution are too important to be bundled in with a solution designed for maintenance or finance or environmental management.

ERP and multi-module "we cover everything" applications are simply not useful in the field for managing process safety. In fact most such solutions aren't good for much besides data aggregation and reporting. Process safety excellence begins and ends with performance at a site or facility level. Therefore, the tools of process safety execution must be made specifically for the men and the women who are in the middle of the hazard and must manage risk day in and day out. VisiumKMS is such a solution.

What are some management of change best practices that companies can employ to achieve operational excellence?

Management of change best practice has been developing for many years. Most companies have chosen to automate their management of change process as well as the pre-startup safety review (PSSR) process. Management of change best practice begins with configuring a workflow that is tailored for the people at the site level who do the work. At a minimum, a company will need in-kind change workflows as well as not-in-kind workflows.

Our customers also have workflows specific to emergency change, temporary change as well as PSSR without MOC and MOC without PSSR. In addition to the MOC workflows, it is necessary to have content (smart checklists) that is configurable to the management of change type. This means if you are changing chemical or catalyst, you will have an evaluation and PSSR designed specifically for that kind of change. Asking questions that are “NA” too often encourages bad behaviors and sub-optimizes the MOC process and PSSR processes. It is also important for MOC and PSSR reporting and the notification and escalation process to be site configurable. Any hint or inference that the MOC solution is rigid and not specifically made for operations will lead to its misuse or nonuse.

So MOC best practice includes configurable workflows, configurable content that aligns with change category or type, and configurable notification/reporting. Best practice means the ability to tweak and tune smart checklists at a local level, and it means the ability to control at a local level what users can and cannot do in an automated solution.

For more of the conversation with Mike and Evan Flach with AIChE, visit: