Mark Breese from Yokogawa RAP will present at Hazardex Live! 2023 on software that can help increase the visibility of plant activities such as functional safety systems which can be better evaluated, managed, and monitored.

An inability to control process conditions has been determined as the root cause of many serious accidents at plants around the world. Loss of control can lead to loss of containment, emissions and, in some cases, even explosions. These can damage plant equipment and cause serious harm, including fatalities, to workers and people in the nearby area, as well as causing real harm to the environment that may often take years to fully mitigate.

Some of the largest industrial disasters have occurred due to Maintenance-related issues. They often include cases where safety systems have been taken offline or have not been re-implemented correctly. Major examples include Bhopal in India and Buncefield in the UK, to name only two.

Control of Work software has been keeping workers safe in high-hazard industries for many years. In modern plants, more and more consideration is being given to safe working because of the advantages it can bring, not only in terms of safety but also in terms of reliability, efficiency, reduced downtime and increased visibility of plant activities that it can bring. One of those visibility aspects is how work on functional safety systems can be evaluated, managed, and monitored. So how does Maintenance affect Functional Safety and what can be done?

Safety systems must be maintained to ensure their safety integrity levels, as proof test intervals will be specified as part of the calculations that define the length of time allowed before the system must be verified. Testing the safety system may be done by either fully testing the system or by diagnostic testing, such as partial stroke testing. In any event, eventually, Maintenance or offline work will be required, potentially changing the safety system's effectiveness when Maintenance is carried out.

In such cases, the change to the safety system must be evaluated from a risk perspective, as the overall risk level to the process will have increased. When the change is implemented (e.g., the item being taken offline), then the time out of operation must be monitored. Alarms are put in place to ensure the system is reconstituted properly once the work has been completed. Systems such as the SORM module for Safety Override Risk Management can support users in carrying out these activities to ensure that adequate monitoring of the safety system and the risks involved are recorded, notified to the correct people, and monitored throughout the task.

Mark Breese

Mark Breese is Global Sales Manager at Yokogawa RAP. As well as being a Chartered Chemist and member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Mark has almost 30 years’ plant and process industry experience across a variety of industries. Starting as a chemical process engineer, Mark has also worked in technical applications support, product management, sales, marketing, engineering, and R&D. He has also been granted several patents for novel industrial equipment designs.