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Abstract

Protection safeguards must reliably and effectively detect, diagnose, and control process deviations before the deviations can result in loss events such as fires and explosions. Any process change can potentially affect protection safeguards. Therefore, it is critical to identify process changes and assess their impact on layers of protection, safety instrumented systems (SIS), operating procedures, and alarms. Process change designs should be reviewed, and any needed modifications to safeguards should be implemented as part of the change. Existing management of change processes rely primarily on human knowledge and interaction among various functional groups, making them highly susceptible to human error. In an effort to reduce the risk involved with process changes, we developed a standardized, electronic management of change (eMOC) system and process, which facilitates reviews of process changes, update of company process safety information (PSI), and notification of affected personnel. It also enhances the ability to track and audit changes. Implementation included all necessary software and development/selection of training. The system is web based and includes a standardized electronic form with checklists (including some flexibility for site or division variation) and an automatic workflow routing. All system functions were automated including routing of documents and drawings, record keeping, approvals, notification, tracking, reporting, printing, searching, and audit trails. The process has now been in use for more than 1.5 years and has been used for over 3500 process changes with good results. The major advantages of the system identified by users are tracking, documentation and compliance, automatic routing, and automatic reminders. © 2004 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2004