CREATING CULTURE

If you look at Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data across the various industries prior to the promulgation of OSHA-PSM and EPA-RMP regulations, it will show that Oil & Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical industries were much better as an industry than other industrial sectors such as machinery manufacturing, logging, commercial fishing, and food production, from a purely injury and illness standpoint. If we look at the current BLS data for the same industries today, there has not been near the improvement you would expect. There are a lot of reasons that keep us as a process industry, from achieving a paradigm shift in process safety. One reason is that when a team is given more than one objective to achieve, they fail to achieve any of them in the manner we would like or should expect. It does not mean they failed; it just means that they did not achieve at the highest level possible. One of the main reasons is we fail as management to provide a well-defined “management system” that incorporates the teaching and training needed. For example, how many people in our organization truly understand and have an appreciation of hazards and risks and how to recognize them both? Process safety or risk reduction does not come through understanding a regulation, nor can it be found in a book or a simple check list. It is a process that is learned through applying the regulation’s intent which is obtained through mentoring, coaching, training, and knowledge. Knowledge is best obtained through a myriad of sources not just one. Knowledge is power, and that power can result in improving and changing our process safety culture.