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Safety and security, education and business initiatives, aerospace technologies, environmental concerns on agenda at ISA EXPO 2007
By Ellen Fussell Policastro
While safety is increasingly on the minds of manufacturers, approaches to safety and prevention are changing. The risk-based approach is the next big thing in process safety management. Steve Arendt, vice president of organization performance assurance at ABS Consulting and keynoter on Tuesday, 2 October, at ISA EXPO 2007, will speak on the developments in risk-based safety management.
After 15 years of learning hard lessons, a thorough review of global environmental, safety and health management systems, and regulatory frameworks, and benchmarking of effective practices within the U.S. process industries led The Center for Chemical Process Safety to build its risk-based process safety approach on four pillars:
- A commitment to process safety is the cornerstone of process safety excellence. A workforce that is convinced the organization fully supports safety as a core value will tend to do the right things, in the right ways, at the right times, even when no one else is looking.
- Understanding hazards and risk is the foundation of a risk-based approach. An organization can use this information to allocate limited resources in the most effective manner.
- To manage risk, organizations must (1) operate and maintain the processes that pose the risk, (2) keep changes to those processes within risk tolerances, and (3) prepare for, respond to, and manage incidents that do occur. A company that uses its risk understanding is better able to deal with the resultant risk and, subsequently, sustain long-term, accident-free, and profitable operations.
- Learning from experience with metrics provides direct feedback on the workings of PSM systems, and leading indicators provide early warning signals of ineffective process safety results. When an element’s performance is unacceptable, organizations must use their mistakes, and those of others, as motivation for action.
Layered controls key to improvement
Metrics, management review, and audits will become the tools for driving and measuring change, “rather than for pinpointing errors and shortcomings,” Arendt said.
Widespread use of leading indicator metrics will enable companies to correlate abnormal events to management system failures and dysfunctional behaviors, ultimately focusing on accident prevention by improving the culture at the base of the accident/incident pyramid. “Companies will understand that learning lower on the pyramid leads directly to safer, more productive, and more profitable operations,” he said.
Culture key to improvement
“Culture is the tendency in all of us, in our organizations, to want to do the right thing in the right way at the right time, all the time, even when if no one is looking,” Arendt said. “Culture is the result of all the actions and inactions in institutional and workforce memory, which shape and influence individual behaviors and tendencies.”
The essential features of a good safety culture include:
- Establish safety as a core value.
- Provide strong leadership.
- Maintain a sense of vulnerability.
- Establish and enforce high standards of performance.
- Empower individuals to successfully fulfill their safety responsibilities.
- Defer to expertise.
- Ensure open and effective communications.
- Establish a questioning/learning environment.
- Provide continuous monitoring of performance.
- Foster mutual trust.
- Provide timely response to safety issues and concerns.
- Formalize the safety culture em-phasis/approach.
“As we strive for zero incidents, we will continue to extract and apply the lessons that we derive from those that do occur,” Arendt said. “But we must look for better ways to ensure good performance. We can fix technical issues. We can fix management systems issues. But to generate better, sustainable performance, we must formally address ways to evaluate and improve individual and organizational process safety culture. Companies will understand that doing all three will lead directly to safer and more productive operations.”
Innovation relies on new education
Engineering education needs an overhaul, especially in light of today’s business conditions, which require companies to get creative with research and development teams, bringing new design technologies to fruition more quickly. James Truchard, president and chief executive of National Instruments will elaborate on this concept during the Rimbach Lecture at ISA EXPO 2007 on Wednesday, 3 October.
Companies making the grade are blending engineering teams with traditional disciplines of electrical, mechanical, chemical, and software design, he said. This way, companies can move more seamlessly to deploy innovative ideas dealing with business issues and with a smaller workforce.
One example is the Segway Human Transporter, designed to help eliminate city commuters’ need for automobiles, Truchard said. “Although this intricate device is very complex, sophisticated software design provides the user with a reliable and simple interface.”
Today, the capability to combine disparate fields is one of the most valued skills in an R&D group. “The university education system is not universally prepared to produce engineers with the breadth of understanding, the hands-on experience, and the theoretical foundation required for a graduate to be a productive employee,” he said. “ISA and industry leaders have recognized this problem and recommend education to focus on real-world problem solving and hands-on experience, algorithm engineering instead of mathematical derivation, and broad cross-department curricula to cover mechanical, electrical, controls, and software concepts.”
To the Moon!
The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 called for a sustained human presence on the Moon, including a precursor program to promote exploration, science, commerce, and U.S. preeminence in space. Such directives were to serve as a stepping stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations.
Donald Monell, keynoter on Thursday, 4 October, is a constellation program manager at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Monell will enlighten attendees about other NASA goals and how today’s technologies contribute.
NASA’s Exploration Strategy is instantiated in six points:
- Use the Moon to prepare for future human and robotic missions to Mars and other destinations.
- Pursue scientific activities to address fundamental questions about the solar system, the universe, and our place in them.
- Extend sustained human presence to the Moon to enable eventual settlement.
- Expand Earth’s economic sphere to encompass the Moon and pursue lunar activities with direct benefits to life on earth.
- Strengthen existing and create new global partnerships.
- Engage, inspire, and educate the public.
Monell is responsible for defining strategies, policies, and guidelines for applying modeling and simulation capabilities across the Constellation program and defining, developing, and implementing data architecture capabilities to ensure a cohesive approach to defining and managing Constellation data.
An exchange of technical ideas
When alarms go unnoticed, major catastrophes can be the tragic result. Today the processing industry has failed to prevent disasters like BP Texas City, Texaco Pembroke, and Esso Longford. Why can’t we resolve alarm management problems? How can companies change a culture of missed alarms and resolve alarm management issues? One way is through good human factors and good engineering practices.
Safety is just one of six technical exchanges at EXPO 2007. These interactive sessions will give attendees the opportunity to actually exchange technical knowledge, learn new strategies, and participate in different types of discussions throughout the EXPO event.
During his tutorial on alarm management, Ian Nimmo, president of User Centered Design Services in Anthem, Ariz., will explain how to take an out-of-control alarm system to a robust system that is predictive rather than reactive and why high-performance human machine interfaces, or HMIs, are an essential part of any solution.
Attendees will hear what the former ASM Program Director has to say about this subject and what solutions are working in the industry. They will also gain insight into failures and a perspective on best practices and practical ways to address these issues. Nimmo will define situation awareness and explain why alarm management only will never resolve this problem and why grey-scale graphics are part of the final solution.
Other topics during the Safety exchange will include separation of control and safety, fire and gas systems, new hardware developments, user/vendor coordination, life-cycle tools, standards comments, and system testing.
Regulating control system security
“Are your manufacturing and control systems secure, or are they an Achilles heel of your facility that a competitor or terrorist could exploit to get a competitive edge, or worse, destroy a region’s critical energy infrastructure?” Bob Webb hits the nail on the head in his paper from ISA’s 2003 Power Division conference. Since then, governments and manufacturers are getting closer to coming to agreements on how to regulate control systems with security standards.
Experts in critical infrastructures, cyber security, government regulations, standards, and interoperability will be on hand 2 October to answer questions and offer insight about cyber security and manufacturers’ responsibilities.
Keith Stouffer, a mechanical engineer with NIST in Gaithersburg, Md., will be talking about developed federal control system security standards. “We can provide information on successes or problems with implementing the standard. Federal agencies have to meet these standards, and many nonfederal agencies and organizations use the guidance and standards developed by NIST and apply them to the private sector,” Stouffer said. “This is an opportunity for attendees to see the federal control system security standard and make their own decision to the usefulness of it in their sector.”
NIST works closely with ISA especially with the ISA-SP99 committee to try to harmonize as much as possible the standards and guidelines that have been developed from the federal sector with the standards developed for private sector.
A chemical company, for instance, would benefit because the standard would reinforce government is working with ISA. “We can provide some feedback on how other control system owners and operators have implemented the federal control system security standards,” he said. “It follows the 80/20 rule, where the standards and implementation guidance will be the same, independent of the sector you’re in. So the chemical sector can learn from the electrical sector. This security panel will give attendees the opportunity to ask specific questions about what’s going on at NIST.”
Cleaning up the world
The way humans impact the Earth’s environment is making headlines all the time. “As automation professionals, we are at the forefront of sensing and managing the impact we have,” said Ian Verhappen, director of industrial networks at MTL Instrument Group in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The ISA EXPO 2007 Environmental & Quality Control track will keep attendees current on the most recent developments and how lessons from one industry can have application in other areas. This year’s sessions cover the four elements: earth (surface absorption of mercury), wind (HRVOC), fire (gas detection, boilers), and water (desalination) in industries such as water & wastewater, building automation, power generation, and sensor development.
Presentations on GAMP, sampling, sensor technologies, and data management practices will give some insight on today’s modern sensors, which provide more information than any previous generations of equipment. Digital communications to these sensors now make data management even more critical than ever before because they are available across control and maintenance systems.
Alex Habib, PE, of Maverick Technolo-gies will discuss process analytical technology (PAT) and how pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturing companies keep up with the FDA’s initiative to insure consistent product quality. “The first step was to implement PAT on a small scale in the research and development labs,” Habib said. “This step has been implemented successfully by most companies. The next step companies need to take now is to transfer the PAT concept to the factory floor.”
However, there are several obstacles they need to address, Habib said. They need to develop ways to justify the economics of deploying PAT projects and design and build in-line systems to get representative samples from the process to the analyzers in a timely manner. Training and certification of plant personnel will help calibrate and maintain on-line analyzers, typically used to work with physical sensors. And finally, they need to learn the multivariate statistical process control techniques in a batch environment, he said.
Other exchanges include Enterprise Integration, Wireless & Networking, and Process Automation.
Students, start your brains
Back by popular demand, the Student Games will take place on the exhibition floor, with teams from around the world solving technical problems for their future business world.
Twelve teams will compete again this year from Columbia, Mexico, Canada, Russia, and the U.S. ISA sponsors include Ardent Services, Emerson Process Management, Honeywell, ISA Analysis Division, ABB Analytical, ISA Life Members Committee, ISA Power Industry Division, and ISA Process Measurement & Control Division.
Providing equipment and problems for the competition are Emerson Process Management, Honeywell, Yokogawa, ISA Power Industry Division, Analysis Division, and the Life Members Committee. Other sponsorships are available.
For more information contact Laura Crumpler at 919-990-0232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellen Fussell Policastro is the associate editor of InTech . Her e-mail is efussell email@example.com.
International Student Teams
Look for these teams on the ISA EXPO 2007 exhibit floor during the ISA International Student Games in Houston: