• process safety management;
  • continuous improvement;
  • PSM;
  • effectiveness;
  • efficiency;
  • performance;
  • leading indicators;
  • benchmarking;
  • risk-based process safety;
  • business case;
  • safety culture


PSM practices and formal management systems have been in place in many companies for more than 20 years. PSM is widely credited for perceived reductions in major accident risk and in improved chemical industry performance. Nevertheless, many companies continue to be challenged by resource pressures, inadequate management system audit results, and stagnant process safety incident performance.

While most companies claim to advocate Continuous Improvement, few have actually put substance into these words and succeeded in practice. This is partly because there is no clear vision of what PSM performance and continuous improvement are. This article defines the following function:

PSM Effectiveness = f [PSM performance + PSM efficiency]

Continuous improvement can address performance issues or efficiency issues or both. Companies are seeking new ways to improve process safety management activities. This article defines these terms and gives examples and lessons that show ways companies are improving performance, efficiency, and effectiveness. © American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2006