In our regular column, the experts from NEBOSH answer a critical HS&E question.
Working in a process industry, health and safety is critical for us. What process safety qualifications or training courses are available?
You are absolutely right to say that health and safety is critical for anyone involved in the process industries. These industries include some of the highest risk activities that workers can perform and if process safety is ignored the ramifications to organisations, people and the environment can be disastrous.
Consider the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in which 11 people lost their lives – more than 1,000 miles of coastline was polluted, over 6,000 birds were killed and the estimated cost of the disaster was said to be over $60 billion.
We have reminders of the importance of process safety closer to home too as news came earlier this year that organisations were allowed to store fuel at Buncefield once more. In 2005, Buncefield was the site of a disaster that forced 2,000 people to evacuate their homes, with an explosion measuring 2.4 on the Richter scale. In the report ‘Buncefield: Why did it happen?’, jointly compiled by the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, it was stated that ‘process safety did not get the attention, resources or priority that it required’. So it is really positive to hear that action has been taken and health and safety measures have been implemented, allowing the site to once again take on fuel. In fact, BP – which intends to store petrol at a neighbouring terminal – has said safety is its ‘first priority’.
Improving process safety culture is one of the key benefits that can be realised through appropriate training or qualifications, which gives employees the knowledge to be able to work to consistent, safe standards. It also gives employers the peace of mind that they have the right staff in the right roles and that engineering controls are in place to prevent catastrophic events.
So, you may be interested to know that NEBOSH and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have recently joined forces to develop a new qualification specifically focused on the process industries. The NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management has been designed for high hazard industries where process safety management is critical. It applies principles and best practice to manage process risks, helping to protect people and valuable assets.
The qualification was the result of an intensive period of consultation, which involved numerous global organisations that spanned the oil and gas, chemicals, utilities, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors, covering a wide variety of those involved in the process industries.
Ninety-four percent of participants in the PSM pilot qualification said that they would recommend the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management to a colleague and their employer. One participant, Bart Roeloffs, works as Corporate Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Seafox, a leading global offshore jack-up company.
He said: “We want our staff to work to the highest possible standards. Having taken the qualification myself I can say for definite that it can help us to achieve and implement our major accident prevention policy. It would definitely recommend it.”
By undertaking this qualification, your team can expect to significantly improve their understanding of process safety management, helping to reduce health and safety risks in workplaces globally.
The qualification is designed for supervisors, newly appointed managers, junior managers, safety representatives and newly qualified health and safety advisors within the process industries, both inside and outside the UK.