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Survey highlights process safety transformation through digitalisation

Health & Safety

Petrotechnics, the developer of Proscient - the hazardous industries’ first software platform for Operational Excellence, has released part two of its 2018 Operational Risk and Process Safety Management (PSM) report – suggesting a bright future as technology is expected to drive improvements in process safety and operational risk management (ORM)

In part one, insights from more than 100 senior industry leaders revealed significant areas of concern – including the impact the previous low oil price is still having on PSM and ORM, as well as disconnects between process safety intent and reality. Part two reveals the improved use of technology could make companies and their work teams safer.

When asked about the technology systems in use today, 84 per cent of respondents reported using enterprise asset management (EAM) or maintenance systems (CMMS), 66 per cent EHS software, 65 per cent asset performance management systems (APM), and 52 per cent enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. However, these alone do not drive tangible improvements to process safety. In fact, only 40 per cent believe companies have effective systems in place for managing impaired process safety barriers, and only 36 per cent believe companies monitor and manage deviations from management system requirements or expectations. This is alarming given the industry’s regulatory requirements and corporate safety policy expectations.

Simon Jones, head of professional services at Petrotechnics said, “Overwhelming positivity has shone through from part two of this year’s survey, with senior leaders really thinking about the digital future. To make it a reality, companies need to glue together disparate management systems and present a common view of risk – an accurate reflection of what’s happening in the field or on the asset – and make it available for the entire organisation.”

“Industry 4.0 technology, IoT platforms, and ORM digital twin software are already starting to make a big difference. This change won’t happen overnight, but the attitudes illustrated in this year’s survey will fuel a digital process safety transformation with pace.”

Respondents predict the use of advanced digital technologies such as IIoT platforms, digital twins, predictive analytics, and mobile workforce applications to increase significantly in the future – nearly fivefold for the use of digital twins, with advanced analytics expected to more than double.

The report highlights a bright future for PSM and ORM, as enhanced technology strategy is expected to drive improvements in process safety effectiveness. Seventy-three per cent of respondents believe technology will make companies and their work teams safer by reducing vulnerability to high-potential near-misses and major hazard events. Eighty per cent said giving the workforce access to real-time process safety risk indicators on the plant would improve risk awareness and safety.