Process safety topics every team should discuss

The goal of process safety is to prevent major safety incidents like explosions and chemical accidents. It’s especially targeted towards industrial settings where hazardous and highly dangerous materials are common. But regardless of where you work, you can discuss the process safety topics in this post to keep safety top of mind.

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Process hazards

When you talk about process safety with your team, focus on preventive strategies as much as possible. You want your employees to fully understand the process hazards in their work area and how to eliminate or control them. Check out these examples of topics related to hazard control:

  • How to identify process hazards
  • Reporting hazards to management
  • How to do a process hazard analysis (PHA)
  • Top process hazards in each work area
  • Different methods for PHAs
  • How to handle unexpected hazards
  • Safety in hot work areas
  • Proper chemical handling and storage
  • Fire and explosion prevention techniques

Empowering workers to recognize hazards in real-time is essential for maintaining a safe workplace. By teaching workers this information, you’re preparing them to protect themselves and others from controllable hazards and risks.

Process safety incident management

In safety, you should never categorize incidents as “inevitable.” But the best safety programs include a detailed process for responding to and following up with incidents, even if they’re unexpected. Teach your employees about these topics related to incident management:

  • Steps in the incident management process
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Personal safety during emergencies
  • How to react to a process safety incident
  • Investigating process safety incidents
  • Emergency shutdown protocol

Risk management

There’s risk in every process regardless of what it is. So, your employees should be prepared to properly manage risks to the best of their abilities. These process safety topics deal with risk management:

  • How to assess risk before starting work activities
  • Upper and lower limits of acceptable risk
  • The role of personal safety in lowering risk
  • Identifying unsafe and risky work conditions or behaviors
  • Top ways to reduce process safety risks
  • Risks for each process onsite
  • How to do a risk assessment

Process equipment safety topics

One of the biggest factors in process safety incidents is the equipment at your facility. Workers absolutely must know how to work equipment properly and be able to identify when variables are out of control limits. Cover these equipment safety topics to prepare your teams for the worst-case scenarios:

  • Inspecting personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Testing safety equipment (respirators, relief devices, etc.)
  • How to wear PPE correctly
  • Proper maintenance of equipment
  • How to store hazardous materials and dangerous equipment
  • How to inspect equipment for safety hazards or defects
  • How to red tag broken equipment

Because there are so many process safety topics to go over, it can be easily to overwhelm everybody if you do too many at once. In my experience, standup meetings are the perfect space to cover these topics in a digestible, effective way. You can hit on one or two topics at a time to make sure everyone’s keeping safety at the front of their minds.