What is Process Safety Management and Why you Need it in 2020

Process Safety Management, also known as PSM, regulates and prevents the release of highly hazardous chemicals in high-risk environments. These chemicals are identified by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The primary purpose of PSM is to protect workers. With the help of EHS Software, organizations effectively comply with PSM and keep the work environment safe.

This applies to all companies handling or processing toxic, reactive, or flammable materials that exceed certain quantities.

To be in compliance with OSHA’s Process Safety Management program, industrial businesses must regularly follow a specific set of approaches. The goal is that by following the 14 elements of PSM, the number of incidents (health hazards and injuries) from releasing hazardous chemicals will be reduced, if not eliminated. And therefore, helping protect the health and safety of employees at work.

14 Elements of Process Safety Management

The 14 elements of Process Safety Management identified by OSHA include the items below. To be in compliance with OSHA, it’s required for businesses to incorporate these elements into their organization. In order for any one element to work effectively, all elements must be incorporated into the business model. One way to look at it is, if you have strong employee participation in safety protocol, but the training model is outdated, then the work environment is not actually safe.

Employee Participation

This includes employees participating in training, surveys and feedback, and safety rewards.

Process Safety Information

Documentation needs to outline specific safety protocol.

Process Hazard Analysis

Also known as a PHA, this requires systematically assessing the potential hazards within your organization.

Operating Procedures

Operating procedures must be written that provide clear instructions and are accessible to all employees.


Employees must be trained to follow specific safety protocol. This is always conducted by the Safety Committee.


Similar to employees, contractors that will work with hazardous chemicals must be trained.

Pre-Startup Safety Review

Also known as PSSR, any new facility that is opened, or any facility that is remodeled, must have a safety review.

Mechanical Integrity

Critical process equipment must be designed and installed correctly. This applies to storage tanks and vessels, pumps, piping systems, and valves, emergency shutdown systems, and controls.

Hot Work Permit

A permit must be issued for hot work operations conducted on or near a covered process.

Management of Change (MOC)

MOC governs the procedure that everyone must follow when implementing process, equipment, or personnel changes

Incident Investigation

Should there be a safety or health incident, including a near-miss, a detailed investigation must be conducted.

Emergency Planning and Response

It’s required for training to take place that outlines for employees the specifics relating to emergency planning and response.

Compliance Audits

Employers must certify that compliance with PSM has been evaluated every three years, at minimum.

Trade Secrets

There is no protecting materials or tracked data of any type. All documents, analysis and operational data pertaining to the company must be secured.

Trade Secrets

There is no protecting materials or tracked data of any type. All documents, analysis and operational data pertaining to the company must be secured.

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Why You Need Process Safety Management in 2020

Process Safety Management keeps your employees safe and healthy at work, especially as it pertains to the release of hazardous chemicals. It means you can feel confident that all elements of your business are functioning as they should, while reducing the number of potential incidents due to hazardous chemicals. If you are not compliant with OSHA’s PSM program, that can lead to major financial and legal consequences.

In order for your business to grow, it needs to work efficiently. And that starts with employees feeling rested from having enough breaks throughout the day. That means ensuring employees are informed and up-to-date on the current way to operate specific machinery. When employees are appropriately trained on how to handle specific equipment and perform particular tasks, your business will operate smoothly and efficiently. When Process Safety Management guidelines are followed correctly and consistently across employees, operational equipment, and technology, you can create a significantly safer work environment. This leads to higher productivity and increased potential for growth.

Other Benefits of Process Safety Management include:

  • Avoiding incident costs by minimizing hazardous releases, injuries and down time.
  • Having rapid and correct response times in the case of an incident or near-miss. Also reducing the effects of incidents before they major issues.
  • Ability to analyze the root cause of an incident or near miss. This enables you to take preventative action, rather than having a reactive approach. Which leads to reducing your company’s risk of additional safety incidents, health hazards, and costs.
  • Plan operational changes with a minimized impact to day-to-day operations.