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Published: 15th February 2024

Nearly half of all high hazard sites have engaged with process safety management competence programme

A high hazard industrial site

Half of all British onshore high hazard sites have engaged in process safety training designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic incidents, new figures have revealed. 

There are more than 490 COMAH-registered companies around the country and industry-approved training through the PSM competence programme has only been carried out in 234 of these. It may be that the remainder have other means to improve their teams’ competence in this field – and the board is encouraging these organisations to check their status.

The figures were compiled by the Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board (PSMCPB) – a group of employers, regulators and industry experts which maintains training standards and promotes the importance of process safety management to senior leaders and other staff across the high hazard sector.

The PSMCPB was established in October 2010 following a call from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the industry to improve safety following the major accidents at the Buncefield storage facility and Texas City Refinery. It is supported by Cogent Skills, a not-for-profit organisation which delivers PSMCPB standard process safety training to high hazard industries.

Chair of the PSMCPB, Richard Roff, said: “The UK has a strong, globally recognised safety record and the fact that more than 22,000 employees have benefited from process safety training  in our programme needs to be celebrated.

“But it’s vital industry doesn’t become complacent and it remains a concern that many high hazard sites may not yet have engaged in improving process safety competence. Clearly, industry must look at the levels of engagement and recognise that as one of the measures which can be taken to prevent accidents.

“Process safety training is critical in setting the right standards across industry and employers who operate any kind of high hazard site owe it to their staff to ensure they understand how to keep their operations as safe as possible.”

Acting Director of Chemicals, Explosives & Microbiological Hazards Division at the HSE, Max Walker, said: “Process safety training is a key element in establishing a genuinely first-class safety culture, from senior leaders down through the entire organisation.

“This can make a real difference to improving operational integrity and reducing the risk of major accidents – so I would urge senior leaders on every high hazard site to look at whether they have properly engaged with process safety training as a matter of urgency.”

Cogent Skills’ delivers process safety training designed for high hazard environments and set to PSMCB standards. Its process safety training catalogue has been updated for 2024, including refreshed content for the Process Safety Leadership and Process Safety Management Foundations courses. For more information, click here.

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