Organizational change management for process safety



It has long been acknowledged that when not properly evaluated and controlled, changes to physical equipment in a facility can lead to serious incidents with potentially severe consequences. Management of change (MOC) systems, replete with a variety of electronic systems, flow charts, and checklists, have been developed by a number of reliable organizations throughout the world to manage these physical changes. It is less commonly recognized that other types of changes such as changes in job responsibilities, loss of key personnel, or even changes in shift hours can have an adverse impact on process safety. These and other nonphysical changes, collectively referred to as Organizational Changes, can lead to serious incidents with potentially severe consequences. Due to their focus on managing physical changes, most MOC systems have overlooked or only superficially address organizational change management (OCM) and the impact of organizational changes that affect process safety.

Organizational change is an unavoidable aspect of doing business. There is a large variety of changes which fit under this umbrella of organizational change. Any of these types of changes could result in catastrophic consequences if the changes are not successfully administered. Effective OCM procedures must include a system for managing potential modifications to a variety of organizational aspects.

The Center for Chemical Process Safety recently published a new guideline book covering OCM. This presentation will highlight some of the key concerns related to OCM which are covered in this new publication and which should be included in a successful OCM program. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog 34: 89–93, 2015