Project HSE Review (PHSER)

Definition - What does Project HSE Review (PHSER) mean?

A Project Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Review (PHSER) is a form of structured hazard-risk audit used within the process industries. The PHSER provides a review of existing occupational health and safety programs to ensure that all HSE issues have been identified and assessed.

As they are applied in industries in which HSE issues can change as a project moves through its lifecycle, PHSERs also ensure that HSE issues have been reviewed and updated throughout the progression of the project.

Safeopedia explains Project HSE Review (PHSER)

The PHSER process is applied as a review of each individual stage of the project. In addition to identifying risks associated with HSE issues, the PHSER also assesses whether appropriate controls have been implemented to reduce risk associated with the project to a level that is as low as reasonably possible. Because PHSERs provide owners and operators with information about whether a project’s risks are controlled sufficiently enough for the project to move to its next stage of operation, the PHSER can be considered a form of due diligence for maintaining safety throughout the project lifecycle.

Unlike other forms of risk assessment, such as a Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP), a key aspect of project HSE reviews is that they are not risk-reduction tools in and of themselves. Rather, they provide a qualitative overview of a firm’s existing HSE procedures. As such, the observations made by PHSERs are typically general in scope. They do not audit the specific details of the policies and assessments that are implemented under the auspices of the HSE programs being considered by the PHSER. Instead, they review the entirety of the project’s HSE standards to ensure that these policies and assessments exist and have been appropriately implemented.

PHSERs are typically provided as a six-stage review process that aligns with the various stages of a project’s progression, such as the following:

  1. Project conceptual design

  2. Front-end engineering design

  3. Detailed engineering design

  4. Construction

  5. Commissioning

  6. Post-commissioning

The post-commissioning stage may be less rigorously structured than the other stages, as it focuses on ensuring previous recommendations have been adequately implemented and also on learning what can be useful for future projects. This process allows the employer to determine that all HSE hazards have been accounted for under existing HSE programs at all points throughout the project lifecycle. If the PHSER identifies any gaps within the existing HSE framework, such as specialist hazard assessments, these must be reported back to the project manager for action.

The entire PHSER process is undertaken by a dedicated team independent of the project itself. This independence allows the team to issue recommendations and alerts regarding the health and safety process without facing a conflict of interest related to timetables, budgets, or other issues that could constrain interest in facilitating adequate safety programs.

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