THE major accidents in 2005 at Texas City and Buncefield marked a watershed for the process industry, with agreement that process safety is not the sole responsibility of the technical safety department. The crucial role of senior leadership was recognised as vital to developing an effective process safety culture throughout an organisation. Another key finding was the need for effective process safety metrics to be gathered and used to drive similar levels of improvement that have been achieved for occupational health and safety.
Over a decade has passed and now is a good time to reflect on the improvements made and whether the momentum for change has been maintained. Senior management attention for ‘continuous improvement’ in process safety could easily be distracted by a belief that the issue has been resolved, and by other business pressures considered more urgent.