New study identifies silo working within Process industries

ABB white paper raises concerns over organizational silos increasing the risk of Major Accident Hazards
November 23, 2016 – ABB’s global engineering and consultancy group, has today launched a new white paper which raises concerns of an increased risk of Major Accident Hazards due to significant levels of silo working in the process industries.

The ‘silo factor’ was the key theme identified in a new study based on 500 recommendations from 16 in-depth process safety risk assessments carried out by ABB in recent years.

According to the white paper, process safety performance within the high hazard industry is being threatened by the silo factor – an inability within process safety management circles to collaborate and be consistent across all departments in an organization.
ABB has identified five common areas of weakness within Process Safety Management (PSM), all in some way a result of silo approaches to PSM:

1. Inadequate testing of safeguards;
2. Inadequate Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) records;
3. Inadequate safeguards in place when compared to the risk reduction claimed as part of process safety risk assessments;
4. Poor understanding of the worst case major accident hazard scenarios on site; and
5. Lack of clarity about the basis of safe operation and a lack of alignment between emergency response plans and the PHA.

Paul Alton, who leads the Process Safety team at ABB’s Consulting business, said: “We have identified a worrying pattern across the process industries that without urgent attention could be lowering our defenses against major accidents.

“Having an agreed and consistent approach to process safety management is critical for safe performance. This can only be achieved through integrated and collaborative thinking and processes that encourage a constant focus on Major Accident Hazards.

“We want to encourage industry debate that will help to raise awareness of the issue within the high hazard sector with a view to agreeing an industry standard approach to process safety management.”
The full white paper can be accessed here:

ABB Consulting
ABB‘s engineering and consulting group has a worldwide reputation as a leader in process safety, integrity management and related services. We provide technical consulting and engineering services to improve performance in areas of compliance, operations and engineering to customers in the chemical, petrochemical, oil & gas, power, pharmaceutical, and other process industries worldwide.

About ABB
ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees.