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Integrate plant reliability efforts with mechanical integrity



Maintenance ensures the reliability of the equipment to meet operation's demands. Operations ensure the production of sufficient and high quality product. Engineering designs and installs equipment that minimizes risk. Safety ensures that the engineering and administrative controls are in place to minimize that risk. This article presents a concept that combines these reliability and safety efforts, such that the maintenance, operations, engineering and safety groups speak the same language to minimize the overall business risk.

This proposed approach combines existing plant reliability efforts with several Process Safety Management elements. The basic steps include identifying safety-critical equipment, ensuring accurate and up-to-date Process Safety Information (PSI), establishing the mechanical integrity (MI) Program, establishing Planned Maintenance (PM) programs, and creating equipment-specific maintenance procedures.

The resultant mechanical integrity quality assurance (MI QA) program combines equipment reliability and operational integrity efforts to ensure that the equipment is properly designed (via PSI), fabricated as designed (via PSI and MI), and installed as designed (via Pre-Start-up Safety Reviews). The MI QA program also ensures that the equipment is operated and maintained as designed by trained personnel. Some benefits include being able to: (1) share and document best MI and PM practices between different sites; (2) focus limited PM-related resources on the process safety-critical equipment; and (3) help monitor the essential reliability efforts to ensure continued safe operation. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2011