Insights on Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Operational Risk and Product Stewardship

Improving Safety Culture Took Center Stage at the CCPS TSC Meeting in New Delhi, Part 2

March 19th, 2019
Abhilash Menon
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In Part One of this blog about my visit to India for the Center for Chemical Process Safety Technical Steering Committee (CCPS TSC) event, which was held at the Hotel Fraser Suites in New Delhi, I wrote about some of the digital challenges that the hazardous industries in India face and how some companies are tackling these.

In Part Two, I want to address some of the work that companies are doing to improve the safety culture along with the initiatives that CCPS is taking to enable better risk management and provide an improved learning capability for the next generation of Process Safety Mamangement (PSM) leaders.

Incident and Injury Free (IIF): This is a program that the HPCL Mittal Energy Ltd. (HMEL) has implemented across their assets to improve their safety culture. Ian Thorpe HMEL’s vice president of health and safety, hammered home the point that safety shouldn’t be considered a priority within an organization, because priorities change. Instead, safety should be considered a core value within the organization because, no matter what the circumstances are, an organization’s values should never change. He then iterated that, as a society in India, there is a steep learning curve on the impact of personal safety. The impact of injuries and fatalities are not just felt by the individual but by the whole family and society in general.

There was a strong emphasis on making the culture part of the organization’s DNA and not just within the HMEL employees but also for the contractors. How can contractors be expected to comply and execute jobs to the right safety standards when the standards are set by the company without including them in the decision-making process? Thorpe asked. To fix this problem, HMEL has implemented senior safety teams of three members each for jobs in the field where one member of the team is a contractor, and they must assess the risks for jobs and be part of developing the right procedure to execute work safely. Some other steps the organization has taken to overcome local challenges are:

Anshul Tiwari, a PSM manager at HMEL, has been instrumental in many of these initiatives , and he has worked closely with Umesh Dhake, CCPS’ Asia-Pacific regional manager, to soon make these videos available on the CCPS website.

Education was another key discussion point that came up through the various sessions. It was noted that India offers few university courses focused on PSM. One member mentioned that engineers often don’t learn enough about safety management during their undergraduate studies and are expected to make it part of their cultural experience in the first four months of starting their careers at a process plant.

This gap has been recognized by the CCPS, and Shakeel discussed the work that CCPS is doing with various universities in the United States and the courses that the CCPS is teaching across the country. He also mentioned that there are many courses being developed as e-learning modules that would be made available for free for students. To meet the need to better educate professional on best practices, Dr. Kiran Patil, a chemical engineering professor from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology at Pune, explained that the university offers workshops to teach PSM. He said the university brings in industry experts to help run the workshops.

Overall the CCPS event was a successful event because industry peers came together to commit to making safety a core value across at their organizations and work toward abolishing a “blame” culture. Encouraging a shared knowledge mindset after any incident helps create a safer and more sustainable operation. The companies are focusing more on rewards and recognition for completing work in a safe manner and not cutting corners. But, more importantly, the session ended with a commitment from member companies on hand to share incident case studies from their organizations during the next CCPS TSC. The lessons learned from those experiences would be worth their weight in gold.

Ready to learn more? Join us at the upcoming Center for Chemical Process Safety Global Congress on Process Safety, where Sphera’s Simon Jones and Scott Lehmann will present best practices and case studies for implementing Operational Risk Management systems.


Abhilash Menon

Abhilash Menon is a Petrotechnics, a Sphera company, business consultant focused on solving client operational excellence and digital transformation challenges. Abhilash joined Petrotechnics with more than 12 years of experience working as a consultant and a project manager for top-tier Oil & Gas, engineering and manufacturing operators across Europe and Asia.

Abhilash has an MBA from the University of Cambridge with a Project Management Professional (PSM) certification from the Project Management Institute. However, in his heart he is still a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, which is how he began his career.

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