Preventing incidents at newly acquired facilities: Implementation of lessons learned



The large number of acquisitions taking place in the chemical industry has increased the need to efficiently assess the process safety risks at such facilities so that they meet the requirements of the acquiring company. This can be difficult if the technology issues are not fully disclosed during the “Due Diligence” phase of an acquisition.

This paper describes a tiered approach to ensuring that the acquiring company identifies as quickly as possible key process safety risks so that employee, community, and company interests are adequately protected. In particular, three aspects of the work process for identifying process safety risks at an acquired facility are shown to be important. The first is the method used to identify process safety risks during the “Due Diligence” phase. This involves the selection of appropriate team members and development of comprehensive checklists that the acquisition team can use to identify potential risks at an early stage. The second is the ability of the acquiring company to focus its own technical and process safety experience on the technologies being acquired; this experience is often in the form of standards that are used in the design and operation of similar facilities. Whether to retrofit these standards becomes an important issue when the newly acquired facility is operated by the new company. Finally, a Process Safety Assessment work process, with defined protocols, has been developed so that senior Process Safety, Operations, and Engineering personnel can assess the potential process safety risks at a facility quickly and consistently in the first few months of operation after an acquisition. © 2006 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2006