The Key Role of a Sound Process Safety Culture in Minimizing Audit Findings

The United States (US) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) process safety management (PSM) standard 29CFR 1910.119 is a performance-based management system regulation intended to prevent catastrophic releases of hazardous chemicals. This standard contains requirements for the safe management of hazards associated with processes using, storing, manufacturing, handling, or moving highly hazardous chemicals onsite. It emphasizes the management of hazards through an established comprehensive program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices. The OSHA PSM 1910.119 standard consists of 14 elements and compliance audits is one of them. It requires compliance audits of all covered facilities every three years; these audits are the ongoing quality assurance process for the process safety management systems.

This paper illustrates a case study on audit findings and related data from a sample of sixteen (16) process facilities identifying the most frequently cited elements and compares them with the results obtained by OSHA refinery and chemical National Emphasis Program (NEP) inspections. NEP are the most significant PSM enforcement actions since the OSHA standard was promulgated in 1992.

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