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Why process safety programs sometimes fail


  • Brian Kelly, P. Eng. is a process safety consultant in Calgary, Alberta. He has conducted numerous process safety audits, incident investigations, and process safety workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has 35 years of engineering and operations experience with Imperial Oil and Syncrude Canada Ltd. He holds BASc and MASc degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He is also a part-time staff consultant with AIChE's Center for Chemical Process Safety.


Process safety management (PSM) failures are common across industry. Many of these failures trace their roots back to lack of understanding and support by senior management. Inadequate resources, improper metrics and unrealistic expectations are some of the reasons for such failures. Formal audits often fail to disclose the reasons why PSM may not provide its full intended benefits. This article discusses some of the principal reasons for process safety shortcomings. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2011