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Process Safety Management (PSM)

Definition - What does Process Safety Management (PSM) mean?

Process safety management (PSM) is a systematic analytical tool for preventing the release of highly hazardous chemicals (as defined by OSHA). Hazardous chemicals include toxic, reactive, explosive and highly flammable liquids and gases. It is a comprehensive management that aims to decrease the number and severity of incidents relating to highly hazardous chemical releases. PSM standards are established by a combination of federal and national standards, directives and their interpretations, integrated technology, organizational and operational procedures, management practices, design guidance, compliance programs and other similar methods.

Safeopedia explains Process Safety Management (PSM)

Process safety management (PSM) is equally important to all industries, regardless of if the industry uses highly hazardous chemicals or not. The accidental release of hazardous chemicals could be catastrophic. As per the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), PSM has 14 elements outlined below:

  • Process safety information - An employer is required to develop and maintain written safety information before conducting any process hazard analysis

  • Process hazard analysis - A systematic approach for identifying, evaluating, and controlling the hazards of processes

  • Operating procedures - An employer must develop and implement written operating procedures, consistent with the process safety information

  • Employee participation - Employers must develop a written plan for employee participation required by PSM

  • Training - Implementation of an effective training program for employees including operating procedures

  • Contractors - Contractors engaged in maintenance, repair, renovation, or special works should be trained on emergency procedures

  • Pre-startup safety review - It is required to perform a pre-startup safety review for new facilities and for modified facilities

  • Mechanical integrity - Integrity of critical process equipment to ensure it is designed and installed correctly and operates properly

  • Hot work - A permit must be issued for hot work operations

  • Management of change - Changes to a process must be evaluated to assess their impact on employee safety and health

  • Incident Investigation - A thorough investigation of incidents is to be done to determine causes and take preventive actions for the future

  • Emergency planning and response - It is essential that emergency pre-planning and training make employees aware of, and able to execute, proper actions

  • Compliance audits - An audit must be conducted and a report of the findings of the audit must be developed and documented

  • Trade secrets - Employers must provide all information necessary to comply with PSM regardless of the trade secret status of such information

The above elements are interlinked and are necessary to make up the complete state of PSM. Every element corresponds with the others.

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