The ‘Watermelon’ Effect: Does a green dashboard mean a healthy facility?

Article by Graeme Ellis

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.

Article by Graeme Ellis

Principal consultant, ABB Consulting

Graeme Ellis is a principal consultant with ABB Consulting with 35 years’ experience in the process industry, now specialising in process safety for major hazard installations. He is a Fellow of IChemE and initially worked as a process engineer in design for MW Kellogg and Hercules before gaining operational experience and training as a hazard study leader with ICI. Since 1994 he has provided PSM consultancy services in all sectors of the process industry, specialising in PHA revalidation for existing operations. He is a member of the UK Energy Institute Process Safety Committee, and completed an update of EI guidance on Inherent Safety in Design in 2014.

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