Walking into work last week and seeing this article reassured me why I work at exida.  Incidents, like this recent one at a pesticide plant in eastern China, are why we push every day to help educate people about the importance of functional safety.

Have you heard about a Site Safety Index (SSI)? It is an evaluation to indicate the level of a site’s maintenance capabilities, activities, and practices that contribute to the safety performance of safety systems at the site.  Its purpose is to accurately account for site specific operational practices, and to reflect the effects of human factors on safety system performance on a site by site basis.

Unfortunately, many accidents occur because of poor site maintenance and a lack of safety culture. We have seen ,case after case, a lack of knowledge and competence. This pesticide plant may have thought they were extremely safe and had all their procedures updated to the latest spec. 

However, when was the last time this specific plant was audited to their procedures or had functional safety in mind? 

Even worse, there are times where the knowledge is there, but the cost benefit isn’t justified.  Resulting in not performing the proof tests on time or not changing out devices at the end of useful life.  Personnel Competency is critical when making these decisions.  “Cutting a corner” to save on production time or dismissing a test to save money might lead to unfortunate results. 

At this time, we don’t know what the cause of this accident was, or what the site’s safety culture was at the time, but we all can agree that too many lives were lost.  In this day and age of international safety standards, certified devices, tools to help you do calculations, training programs and consultants, even one (1) more death is too many. 

Please contact tstewart@exida.com if you’d like a copy of the SSI checklist.

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