Prominent incidents such as Oxy’s Piper Alpha explosion, the Esso Longford gas explosion, and the BP Deepwater Horizon spill have given rise to new rules and practices in the implementation of process safety management. Despite this attention, major incidents continue to occur. Research has shown that alongside the proximate causes of each incident, there also existed an underlying fabric of systems, mechanisms, and culture that allowed risk to persist and processes to be ignored. The conclusion is that traditional approaches to process safety management are not sufficient for addressing the precursors that lead up to catastrophic events.
Leaders in process safety management have recognized that the systems designed to control and mitigate major events are only as effective as the culture in which they operate. Leaders create culture through what they do and what they do not do, culture shapes behavior, and behavior is how systems are implemented.
To advance beyond the level of safety achieved through process safety management systems alone, organizations should adopt a Comprehensive Process Incident Prevention approach that builds on the foundation of process safety management to create a safety process that integrates culture with leadership characteristics critical to catastrophic event prevention. This approach includes four major components: Anticipation, Inquiry, Execution, and Resilience. Both individually and collectively, these four components build a strong safety culture that supports effective technical and management safety systems that are designed to prevent catastrophic events.