The word "safety" is general in nature. This is used in different forms for different aspects, e.g., home safety, road safety, process safety, personal safety, and many more. However, coming to industry side and in particular to the oil & gas sector, two forms of safety are prominent and have significant impact in the business cycle, which are process safety and personal safety.

Occupational (personal or personnel) safety is what is thought of when most people hear the word "safety." They think of trips, falls, struck against and the use of PPE. Traditionally, in the industry, focus of "safety" has been assumed to be totally described by the personal safety and related injury rates. If you ask any organization about their safety performance, the answer almost always was a statement of their incident rates which consists of injury frequency rates (IFR), lost time rates (LTR), total recordable incident rate, etc.

It is particularly important to distinguish between process safety and occupational safety. The Baker Panel report, written following the explosion at BP's Texas City refinery in 2005, stated,

With respect to personal safety, that focus evidently was effective. BP's executive management, however, mistakenly believed that injury rates, such as days away from work, case frequency and recordable injury frequency, were indicators of acceptable process safety performance. While executive management understood that the outputs BP tracked to monitor safety were the same as those that the industry generally monitored, it was not until after the Texas City incident that management understood that those metrics do not correlate with the state of process safety.

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