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Profitability vs Safety

Lack of Profitability vs Safe in a Downturn Industry

Published May 01, 2015 under Institute of Hazard Prevention
Author: Ken Bingham

Do you feel Safe is impacted at your facility during this downturn of low oil price?  Have you been impacted personally? We are all in this together to stay safe. Please find below a few innovative suggestions to help you and your company stay safe.

1) Find a discussion group or networking group where you can be close to likeminded individuals who are passionate about being Safe. Share knowledge with other owner operators in a confidential environment, and come up with innovative solutions to improve safety at your organization – without a consultant’s price tag. If you don't have a group in mind, here's an example - PSDG group  Or, start your own group and ask these guys for help.

2) Conduct audits on safeguards (mechanical and people) in a facility to test the integrity of all safeguards given credit inside Risk Assessments for that facility. At the very least, conduct audits of completed Risk Assessments and their recommendations to find spending opportunities with high return. It is imperative to ensure maximum value for every dollar spent today. More importantly, verify the recommendations were implemented. If you don't have a good process in mind, ask me about the process for SOS (Safeguard Operating Status). The process looks back in time searching for the unavailability of safeguards (mechanical and people). It uses the HAZOP-LOPA as a reference to determine the Risk profile of a facility. A facility may have been operating at high risk without their knowledge. It’s like having a near miss without knowing it.

3) Test for the alignment and the existence of a safe Vision at every level in a plant and compare to the corporate version of a Safe Vision. Funds and efforts may have been approved to roll out safe programs and align the corporate vision at one time. However, it may be threatened during times of economic downturn.  The money may be unavailable and the emphasis by employees may be imbalanced on production and profitability. The test for a Safe Vision is discussed in my book (The Sum of all Risk and the Safe CEO) and recommends interviewing employees and using a Safe Citizens council.

There are numerous other suggestions to keep you and your company safe during lean times but I hope you get the message here.  The lack of profitability can threaten you personally and or put the company at risk.   But should something happen to you or your colleagues or your employee's during these down times, the related families will not understand the logic of Lack of Profitability. 


If you are interested and want to take further action, I suggest the following:

  • Reach out to me via LinkedIn or through the Contact Us form and I can provide some insight from my experiences, including the execution of Safe Operating Status Reviews
  • Reach out to me via LinkedIn or through the Contact Us form and I can help provide the format and process of the Process Safety Discussion Group so you can start your own group.
  • If you are interested in the Safe Citizens Council reach out to Lisa at It’s described in detail in my book but Lisa can send you a copy of the section on the Safe Citizens Council.

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