Petrotechnics’ survey reveals reality of risk in the global hydrocarbon industry

ABERDEEN, Scotland, UK — Petrotechnics, the developer of the hazardous industries’ first software platform for operational excellence, has released its 2017 Operational Risk and Process Safety Management survey results. Insights from more than 200 senior industry leaders reveal that only 6% believe their companies are fully up-to-date with their scheduled safety-critical maintenance.

“The low percentage of companies achieving their scheduled safety-critical maintenance is startling,” says Simon Jones, head of professional services at Petrotechnics. “Safety is a top priority in hazardous industries – but these results demonstrate that operators may be exposing themselves to increased major accident hazard risk.”

Operational excellence was highlighted as a main driver for improving safety performance (61%), but 59% believed PSM was not always fully incorporated within operational excellence strategies or programs. The top driver for improving safety performance cited was reducing operational and major accident hazard (MAH) risk—at 71%. However, 57% said companies do not always have a defined roadmap in place for advancing safety performance, and 77% of survey respondents believe companies do not always maintain a sense of vulnerability about their exposure to risk.

The survey also highlighted industry progress. 80% believe regulations and technology have made the industry safer. But there is still some way to go. For example, 70% of companies believe there is a measurable change in the level of risk exposure on the plant between planned PSM hazard review periods. And, 74% of companies do not employ effective solutions for monitoring and managing the risk arising from operational activities, the impaired health of process safety barriers and other management system deficiencies.

Ninety percent believe risk awareness and safety would be improved if the workforce and management had access to real-time process safety risk indicators on the plant—a significant increase from 73% in 2016. This increase demonstrates the growing reliance on technology to improve process safety and operational risk management.

 “The good news is process safety, operational risk and asset integrity professionals understand the complex nature of the challenges they face, and the organizational, cultural and technological hurdles to overcome. The goal now is to deploy systems that enable organizations to bring PSM into the fold of operational excellence,” Jones said.

The Petrotechnics PSM survey was conducted online between June 14 and July 27, 2017. More than 200 individuals took part, of whom 50% have worked in process safety, asset integrity and operational risk for more than 15 yr. Two thirds of respondents have management responsibilities at corporate level, with the remaining third having single-site or regional responsibilities. Survey participants work in the oil and gas sector (44%), chemicals (41%) and other manufacturing or utility companies (15%).

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