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An ABB white papaer has been launched which raises concerns over organisational silos increasing the risk of major accident hazards

01030120 2New ABB study identifies silo working within Process industries. (Image source: Admiral Associates)

ABB, the global engineering and consultancy group, launched a white paper at the end of November which raises concerns of an increased risk of major accident hazards due to significant levels of silo working in the process industries. 

The ‘silo factor’ was the crucial theme identified in a new study based on 500 recommendations from 16 in-depth process safety risk assessments carried out by ABB in recent years. 

ABB has identified five common areas of weakness within Process Safety Management, all result of silo approaches to PSM:

- Inadequate testing of safeguards;

- Inadequate Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) records;

- Inadequate safeguards in place when compared to the risk reduction claimed as part of process safety risk assessments;

- Poor understanding of the worst case major accident hazard scenarios on site; and

- Lack of clarity about the basis of safe operation and a lack of alignment between emergency response plans and the PHA.

Paul Alton, who leads the Process Safety team at ABB’s Consulting business, said: “We have identified a worrying pattern across the process industries that without urgent attention could be lowering our defences against major accidents.

“Having an agreed and consistent approach to process safety management is critical for safe performance. This can only be achieved through integrated and collaborative thinking and processes that encourage a constant focus on Major Accident Hazards.

“We want to encourage industry debate that will help to raise awareness of the issue within the high hazard sector with a view to agreeing an industry standard approach to process safety management.”