By Sphera’s Editorial Team | September 1, 2020

One Small Step for PSM ORM …

For five years, hazardous industry experts have shared their feedback on the state of Process Safety Management (PSM) and Operational Risk Management (ORM). The reports have offered insightful and sometimes startling insights about the reality of risk, process vulnerabilities and the progress that has been made toward improved risk identification, management and communication.

In this five-year milestone report, Sphera worked with 192 industry leaders to benchmark progress, understand best practices and identify the future direction of PSM and ORM. The insights gleaned from these industry leaders will help organizations advance their safety commitments in their pursuit of Operational Excellence. We hope this report sparks debate and discussion, and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

… To Understanding One Giant Leap …

All of us have experienced unprecedented change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fluctuations in oil and commodity pricing, which have affected operating margins. Even so, these changes have done little to alter the ongoing safety and risk management needs that still require attention in all industries.

The recent explosion in Lebanon at the Port of Beirut is a stark reminder of how real and catastrophic Major Accident Hazards (MAH) can be. There is a clear need for Integrated Risk Management that provides a joined-up view of job planning, barrier management, task risk assessment and embedded safety and process rigor.

The pandemiceconomic changes and continuation of hazardous events have given many companies the impetus and time to consider the need for technologies to drive safety culture and help achieve operational resilience. 

… Toward Dynamic and Simulated Risk

The 2020 report suggests one way to prevent the risks associated with increased MAHs is to turn toward technological solutions. Digitalization technologies, in the form of dynamic and simulated risk, will help overcome many safety and risk challenges.

Beyond the trends toward greater digitalization, obstacles for improved safety and risk management include the need to:

Develop a stronger safety culture

Contend with the loss of experienced personnel

Prioritize needs with limited resources

Win the support of senior leadership

Operational Risk Management at the Forefront

The truth is times have changed. PSM and ORM arent what they were 10 years ago. While industry regulations and corporate business strategies seek to ensure safe and effective operations, everybody across the organization has a role to play. What’s yours? 

About the Survey

The 2020 Sphera PSM/ORM Survey was conducted online between April 27 and June 29, 2020.  A total of 192 professionals participated in this year’s survey, of whom 82% have worked in PSM, ORM or asset integrity for more than five years. A little over a third (36%) of respondents said they work in the Oil & Gas industry, 19% in the petrochemicals industry and 17% in manufacturing. More than 30% of participants work for companies with more than 10,000 employees and more than 25 plants and industrial facilities. Additionally, 44% said their work is focused in the Americas while 24% said Asia-Pacific, and 32% said Europe, Middle East & Africa.

Survey and Expert Commentators

As with the Operational Risk Management, Product Stewardship and Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability engineering that we do, this survey includes its own iterative improvement process. We welcome your critical feedback and any suggestions you may have to help us improve the survey and report for future years.  

Simon Jones
Director, ORM Solutions Consulting

Andy Bartlett

Andy Bartlett
ORM Solutions


Scott Lehmann
Vice President, ORM Product Management


John Crosman
Process Safety


Courtney Brewer
Product Marketing,


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