ARC Advisory Group recently met with exida to discuss the company’s safety lifecycle management solution, exSILentia. The product is exida’s response to the pressing need for comprehensive safety lifecycle management tools to manage the increasingly mandated safety regulations and standards. End users across a variety of industries are rapidly recognizing the need for better solutions to manage safety systems to reduce compliance costs and risk.
According to exida, the solution:
Allows users to leverage data throughout the safety lifecycle so that data is only entered once for better accuracy
Captures and institutionalizes corporate knowledge
Spans across the entire enterprise
Creation of exSILentia for Process Safety Lifecycle Management
Founded in 2000 by several reliability and safety experts, exida is a leading product certification and knowledge company specializing in automation system safety, cybersecurity, and availability. The company began as a consulting organization, guiding end users through processes like process hazard analysis and evaluating various layers of protection and risk mitigation. exida leveraged this experience to produce tools used by its own consultants to expedite safety projects and increase its competitiveness and effectiveness. Eventually, the company made these tools into products for end users. It has worked to optimize these tools over time.
exSILentia: What It Does
According to exida, the current version of exSILentia integrates all safety lifecycle tools to create a coherent platform to manage a company’s safety systems. Data is entered once and then exchanged between the different tools corresponding to phases of the safety lifecycle. This helps ensure efficiency and consistency in all safety lifecycle activities. It is designed to support the Process Safety Management (PSM) work process and the Safety Instrumented System (SIS) Functional Safety Lifecycle.
Cause-consequence pairs identified during the process hazard analysis (PHA) can be grouped in hazard scenarios. High-risk hazard scenarios can be flagged for further evaluation using layers of protection analysis (LOPA). Causes and associated safeguards are automatically identified for the selected hazard scenario and serve as a starting point for the protection layers to be considered in the LOPA. Alarm safeguard information can be brought into SILAlarm so that it is available during alarm rationalization.
The hazard scenario accident frequency calculated during LOPA becomes an input into the SIL target selection. If the accident frequency is higher than the consequence-based tolerable frequency, then additional risk reduction requirement for a safety instrumented function (SIF) may be required. exSILentia makes it possible to directly assign a risk reduction requirement to a SIF in the LOPA. In both cases, this risk reduction requirement and need for a SIF lead to the creation of a safety requirements specification (SRS). Information from the PHA, LOPA, and SIL target selection will feed directly into the SRS.
The solution automatically links safeguards identified as SIFs to the SRS. The company’s SILver conceptual design evaluation/SIL verification tool then enhances these. The detailed modeling in the SILver tool is further extended, providing the user with more options to model more complex configurations as well as considering maintenance effectiveness and other issues. The embedded Safety Equipment Reliability Handbook (SERH) database (a comprehensive reliability database for automation equipment) is then applied to calculate the safety integrity level of the safety instrumented function.
The results from the conceptual design lead to the definition of a design SRS. This detailed design input document specifies implementation requirements for the evaluated SIF. The data flows to the SILStat software, through which users can define a model for capturing SIS operation and maintenance data, such as proof tests and SIS demands, while they are documenting the detailed design. This ensures that all important lifecycle information is documented in a single source.
Industry Challenged in Safety
One of the key challenges in industry today is the largely “set-and-forget” mentality with regard to safety. But safety systems are “living” entities and don’t generally age well. There is a very solid methodology for the initial design and implementation of an overall safety system. However, maintaining a safety instrumented system over time can be labor intensive and the appropriate safety expertise is neither cheap nor easy to come by. Complying with the ISA-84 and IEC61511 guidelines is difficult at best, and many companies continue to have differing, even conflicting views on how to implement and operate in accordance with the guidelines.
Regardless, an enterprise cannot address issues it cannot see. A disparate collection of offline documentation, spreadsheets, and instrument databases hamper visibility, exacerbating the challenge users face to maintain their safety systems for optimum performance.
Current methodologies lack adequate techniques to monitor the performance of the implemented systems based on real-world interactions. As such, end users lack a single view to help identify shortcomings easily. Instead, this arrangement relies on several individuals to enter and maintain the records and other individuals to pull the data together and interpret the meaning. In the case of an audit, the reports are time consuming, tedious, and likely to contain errors. Given the current state of the labor market, it’s often difficult to keep safety-qualified personnel at site. This can also complicate record keeping and monitoring of the overall safety systems’ status.
ARC believes comprehensive, integrated “cradle-to-grave” tools are critical for end users. Most end users have a menagerie of disjointed data repositories that are difficult to maintain. Solutions like exSILentia are crucial for companies serious about process safety compliance and industry leadership.
The solution offers another benefit in that the safety knowledge is no longer floating in several different databases or with different personnel who might leave due to retirement, for example. Instead, it is captured in a single referenceable repository; accessible and auditable. This is important as safety talent becomes more difficult to replace.
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Keywords: exida, exSILentia, Process Safety Lifecycle Management, IEC 61511, ISA 84, SIS, PSM 1910.119, Seveso II, ARC Advisory Group.