At first glance, it would appear that there is not much a processing facility can learn from an aviation disaster. In reality, however, there are many similarities between aviation safety and process safety, and therefore lessons learned in one of these industries are valuable to the other.
With the industry norm of budget constraints and the continuous effort of trying to do more with less, the ability to correctly prioritize work has become increasingly critical. This becomes especially important when it relates to risk-reducing Safeguards and the prioritization of Safeguards for maintenance. With a growing list of equipment and corresponding Safeguards, the ability to stay on top of maintenance prioritization can be significantly impacted.
There is growing concern among owners/operators regarding the quality and consistency in the Process Hazard Analyses (PHA) of their facilities. When a PHA is conducted, whether through an internal or contracted facilitator, there can be a strong influence on the data from many factors. These factors affect the integrity of the data and, can lead to increased risk exposures in the facility.
Everyone makes mistakes. Therefore, every Process Hazards Analysis should address the potential for error when humans interact with a processing system. It is unreasonable, however, to ask a PHA team to address every error that could be made by a person, so guidance must be given on the types of human factors to address.
The process safety industry understands that humans make errors. As team members become fatigued and stressed due to workload, the rate of occurrence for errors increase. Often these characteristics impact the documentation of the process hazard analysis (PHA) session. Project or Plant driven PHAs frequently have high expectations of scope completeness while being stringent on time, which often leads to compressed PHA sessions. This time constraint results in normalized human errors, which can unfortunately materialize critical documentation flaws.