PSM is not about compliance … Less than 0.1% of the cost of poor process safety implementation is compliance citations

Process safety management is 20+ years older than the extremely weak PSM regulation from US OSHA, so to 99% of the companies around the world that implement PSM, OSHA PSM elements and interpretation is almost irrelevant. Even in the USA, most of the companies who have implemented PSM more than 10 years extend process safety to processes not covered because using effective process safety practices is a cost effective way to operate a business. PSM should not be viewed as a compliance issue; the implementer will miss the benefits with a compliance-only approach.

US OSHA is not the incentive to implement PSM. For instance, note that US OSHA has issued a total of $95 million in fines related to PSM since their reg was finally issued in 1992 (that is about $5 million in PSM fines per year, on average; this is spread across more than 100,000 sites). Whereas process safety weaknesses cost the industry in just the USA more than $20 billion per year (likely much higher in indirect costs) in lost revenue (downtime), lost capital (replacement/repair) of process systems, litigation and settlements in civil courts (for liability claims), etc. So, the real benefits of reducing these losses is 1000 to 5000 times greater than avoiding OSHA citations. This is the business case for process safety and most of the benefits are actually in process reliability (where process safety programs started) gains and enhanced quality.

To find our more, check out our papers (all free) at or attend our PSM course (Course 2).

By |2013-04-29T10:43:14+00:00January 9th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

William G. (Bill) Bridges is President of the Process Improvement Institute (PII). He has over 30 years of experience, including more than 20 in senior management and senior PSM advisory roles. Bill is considered one of the leading authorities on process safety engineering, risk management, and human error prevention.

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