The maximum level of process safety performance an operational asset can attain is indelibly set in the early stages of a project; this is why it is crucial to lay a solid foundation for process safety during design. Despite ever improving design codes and standards, the hydrocarbon industry continues to suffer from major process safety incidents, with incident root causes far too commonly traced back to decisions or actions taken years before during the design stage of a project.

Construction safety standards and practices are also long-standing and maturing, but it was the adoption of behaviour-based site-safety campaigns that have allowed selected projects to realise a step-change in incident reduction beyond that offered by systems and practice; achieving world-breaking records of personnel safety.

Before embarking on Front-End Engineering Design (FEED), the world-scale Al Karaana Petrochemicals Projecti asked, ‘is it possible to translate the concept of a behavioural-based site-safety programme into a process safety design context?’

To answer this question, a Behaviour-Based Process Safety Programme was created and then piloted with the aim to entrench process safety into the hearts and minds of design engineers, and positively influence behaviours. The cornerstone of this programme is the 9 Foundations of Projects Process Safety, which serve as clear anchor points around which the key messages on process safety are communicated during the Project's FEED. The 9 Foundations of Projects Process Safety are not intended to create any new ‘rules’, but are aimed to help focus on changing behaviours in critical areas where weaknesses are observed in projects.

This paper offers observations on framing, developing and then embedding the Behaviour-Based Process Safety Programme for a design-office audience. It records the learning on success as well as improvement opportunities and outlines the intended path forward for subsequent project phases.

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