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Published: 7th September 2022

Celebrating high hazard industry success

Significant Milestone Reached – 20,000 Staff Trained in Process Safety Management

Celebrating High Hazard Industry Success – BUT more sites still need to adopt the standards!

Darlington, United Kingdom. 1 September 2022. Responsible process safety training success has been achieved by over 300 UK and global high hazard companies, celebrating the fact that since 2010, 20,000 delegates have now adopted the Process Safety Management (PSM) industry framework training standards.

The standards, listed in this HSE COMAH guidance document – have been developed for industry by the UK Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board, which includes representatives from the Health and Safety Executive, and are delivered exclusively by Cogent Skills.

The PSM standards are benchmarked to COMAH / SEVESO III compliance requirements and include detailed content supporting process safety competence and compliance – to help improve a business’ operational integrity, safety and reduce the risk of a Major Accident Hazard to people, assets and the environment.

Since the start of the programme, training has been undertaken by 20,000 PSM delegates from over 40 major accident hazard industry sectors – including Chemicals, Nuclear, Energy, Utilities, Manufacturing, Upstream and Downstream Petroleum, Explosives, Distribution and Storage, across the following COMAH site classifications:

  • 36% Upper Tier
  • 15% Lower Tier
  • 49% Non-COMAH

This significant milestone was reached in Summer 2022, when participants from Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE Plc) undertook a bespoke Process Safety Leadership course, delivered via online blended learning.

This means that since 2010, high hazard industry leaders have been investing in their staff training and process safety culture – to keep their sites safe and reduce the risk of a catastrophic incident to people, the environment or assets – which in turn will help them to keep their ‘License to Operate’.

But there is still more to do. There are over 900 COMAH sites in UK and only 1/3rd of COMAH and non-COMAH high hazard sites have adopted the PSM Training Standards.

Richard Roff, Chair of UK Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board and Group Process Safety Director, Costain Group PLC, stated:

“This significant milestone demonstrates the importance that responsible senior leaders place on process safety management across their businesses. It should also send a clear message to those yet to engage in process safety management training, that they are missing out on something their peers or competitors have in hand. 

The principles of Process Safety Management are applicable wherever there is a need to maintain operational safety and reduce environmental risk so it’s great to see that non-COMAH organisations are taking their process safety seriously too.

It’s essential that leaders of organisations with the potential for catastrophic incidents in their operations prioritise the adoption of process safety education: The PSM programme’s standards have been developed specifically for them and their teams – to help keep their operations safe.”

The Process Safety Management training standards are recognised by the UK HSE’s COMAH / Seveso III authority and are delivered via a suite of 1- or 2-day Process Safety Management courses – which include:

  • Process Safety Leadership for Senior Executives (PSL) for Senior Executives and Board Members of major hazard facilities
  • Process Safety Management Foundations (PSMF) for Managers, Supervisors, Safety Personnel, Senior Contract Employees and Junior Engineers
  • Process Safety Management for Operations (PSMO) for Operators, Maintenance Technicians and Long-Term Contractors
  • PSMO – Train the Trainer (License to Train PSMO)  to deliver approved course content under license

Amanda Cockton, Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board member and Health and Safety Executive HM Inspector of Health and Safety | Chemicals, Explosives & Microbiological Hazards Division, stated:

2021 major hazard leadership interventions highlighted the links between poor performance on site and a lack of competency in the management of major hazards at senior leadership level.

Boards should have at least one person who is accountable for process safety performance and who understands how the decisions made at board level can impact upon safety, both now and into the future.

Process Safety Leadership training is an effective way of ensuring that these boards have the right level of competency. 

Any senior leader, whether it is the CEO, President or Board Member, who plays a significant role in the direction of a business, needs to understand not only what is happening on their sites and appreciate their risk profile, but they should also take accountability for their process safety management systems, workforce competency and major hazard safety on site. 

This is particularly important now, as leaders make plans to review and update their sites in preparation for Net Zero.

To safeguard major hazard safety, especially when introducing changes to new systems and procedures, leaders need to ensure and evidence staff competence at all levels.”

For high hazard leaders who have not yet adopted the PSM training standards, or for those who need a PSM refresher due to workforce changes, there are several training delivery options available. These face to face, blended or virtual options include:

  • Open courses – where delegates from different business all learn together.
  • In-house courses – where staff members from the same company all receive the training together
  • Bespoke learning – where businesses collaborate with Cogent Skills to combine their own specific Senior Leadership messaging and process safety procedures with the exclusive PSM competence and compliance training standards content – benchmarked to comply with relevant major accident hazard operations’ [NS1] regulatory requirements.
  • Bespoke blended learning – where Bespoke learning is converted into a mix of professional knowledge-based videos and interactive trainer led sessions that can be delivered anywhere in the world.

Bespoke blended learning is identified as a Best Practice learning option, as it meets business case needs such as equality, inclusivity and accessibility of engagement, cost savings along with helping leaders achieve their Net Zero Agenda, as virtual training reduces a business’ corporate carbon footprint.

Malcolm Sarstedt, Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board member  and Process Safety Operations Manager, Unilever UK, Ireland and Europe stated:

“Bespoke Blended Process Safety Management learning is certainly the way forward for Unilever. In terms of actual training and delivery, it is remarkably effective. I would say that it has been an overwhelming success. Senior leadership who’ve attended the training, have given exceptionally good, positive feedback”. . [NS2] 

Media enquiries contact: Beverley Rose. Cogent Skills Regulatory Compliance Solutions Marketing Manager

Email : [email protected]

DD: 01325


Notes for Editors

About the Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board

For workforce competence and process safety compliance


Richard Roff. Chair of the Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board and Group Process Safety Director, Costain

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 07808 861024

The Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board’s (PSM CP) priority is to provide training standards and education to industry leaders who manage process safety hazards with the potential for catastrophic incidents to people, the environment or property. For COMAH and non-COMAH facilities – to help build and maintain their workforce’s competence.

The Board aims the to help Major Accident Hazard site leadership to keep their sites safe and reduce the risk of a catastrophic incident to people, the environment or their assets – which in turn will help them to keep their ‘License to Operate’.

The PSM Competence Programme Board (PSM CP) and its Expert Panel, were established in October 2010 in response to a call from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive for the industry to do more following the Buncefield storage facility and Texas City refinery disasters.

The volunteer Board is a collaboration of industry leaders, duty holders, trade unions, industry associations, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies; it meets on a quarterly basis and is chaired by Richard Roff, Group Process Safety Director at Costain.

The Board’s purpose is to:

  • Establish and maintain industry training and standards – providing ongoing direction to keep Major Accident Hazard sites safe and responsibly manage their process risks
  • Create leadership awareness about the importance of process safety management across the High Hazard sectors
  • Encourage companies to take on Process Safety Leadership training and cascade it through their organisation

The PSM training standards framework, which has been developed and maintained by the Board, is benchmarked to COMAH / SEVESO II requirements.  It covers process safety management skills, knowledge, understanding and culture, and is relevant to all industries that have process safety risks – those with the potential for catastrophic incidents to people, the environment or property. (Watch previous PSM CP Board members explain more here)

The standards are listed in this HSE COMAH guidance document

Cogent Skills is the sole training delivery partner for the PSM CP Board course content. 

Information Links

Webpage: About the UK Process Safety Management Competence Project Board

FilmAbout the UK Process Safety Management Competence Project Board

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