The process industry is very concerned about safety and has increased spending to levels that have become a concern in itself. The industry is also committed to sustainability. Felix Hanisch, NAMUR’s president, reminded the participants that CO2 emissions must be halved every ten years, despite the fact that population and its needs are increasing, to get to net zero by 2050.
Safety and sustainability are linked in several ways. Safety accidents and incidents, negatively contribute to sustainability and continue to happen despite increased spending. Priorities on spending on safety should be questioned and redefined: did the impact of spending on safety instrumented systems (SIS) plateau out, and would maintenance, operator training or work conditions be limiting factors to increase safety? Do resource requirements for safety tasks compete with those for sustainability? In how far do investments in both domains compete?
In any case, managing safety can become more efficient and more effective. This was the takeaway from Michael Krauss’ presentation at the NAMUR general assembly. Mr. Kraus analyzed the steps in the safety lifecycle:
- In risk assessments the target should be to consider safety functions as simple as possible and as many as necessary. The reality is the opposite.
- In the specification step the target would be to have as many standard templates as possible, and only customized if necessary. In reality, many incompatible tools are used, as a result templates are not standard, and a lot of work is done on paper.
- The engineering step should be as integrated as possible, and as separated as necessary. The fact is that there are obstacles because one cannot fully rely on separation between SIS and basic process control systems (BPCS). Ethernet-APL is a huge opportunity for efficiency as it enables to have common devices and infrastructure for both SIS and BPCS, while maintaining security through black channel communication, as defined in IEC 61508.
- The target for the operation and testing step is that safe operations should use a maximum of digital data collection. In reality, there is a huge manual effort and testing effort is increasing.
- In the lessons learned step, NAMUR’s answer is to create transparency and field feedback by using Namur.smart, a web-based support tool for NAMUR recommendation NE 93. The purpose is to report SIS malfunctions, help providing proof of “prior use” status, compliant with IEC 61511 and provide analysis of SIS effectiveness and recommending parameters for associated measurements. As information is collected and reused for all members, large amounts of data for several types of SIS are supported. The overall target is to gain efficiency and effectiveness and improve digital integration. The more companies will contribute the more valuable Namur.smart will become. The support for different steps in the safety lifecycle can be extended further.
For the long-term future, a goal could be to provide templates for SIS applications for a variety of process situations, supporting the specification and engineering steps in the lifecycle.
ARC believes that Mr. Hanisch’ and Krauss’ statements deserve careful consideration. Safety can very probably improve, while reducing spending. The same concepts have also shown to be true for reliability and maintenance spending. We believe that what could become “human-centered safety”, that could be defined as safety co-designed by the operators, safety, and process professionals, combined with technical and relationship competence development could positively impact safety. Extending the approach to resilience and sustainability could create further improvements. The key is to make systems and subsystems efficiently together for an optimal overall outcome.
Acknowledgement: many thanks to Felix Hanisch and Michael Krauss for the review of this blog. This blog reflects ARC Advisory Group’s opinions.