Has process safety management missed the boat?



The US Nuclear Navy has an exceptional record of reactor process safety. In over 50 years of nuclear plant operations with as many as 100 operational reactors, the Nuclear Navy has not had a single loss of life or major environmental accident because of process safety. Compare this to the record of all too frequent serious process safety accidents in industries covered by OSHA's process safety management (PSM) regulation and one may wonder, “What's caused the difference?”

Although some may say that comparing a military organization and civilian industrial facilities is impossible, this article compares Rickover's reactor process safety philosophy to the regulations and guidelines applied to industrial PSM to provide readers with potential ideas for improving the implementation of PSM. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2011