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Course 736 - Introduction to Process Safety Management

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Operating Procedures

Establishing and implementing written procedures for operations and maintenance is critical to avoid a catastrophic release of chemicals.
Establishing and implementing written procedures for operations and maintenance is critical to avoid a catastrophic release of chemicals.

What are Operating Procedures?

Operating procedures provide specific instructions or details on what steps are to be taken or followed in carrying out the stated procedures. The specific instructions should include the applicable safety precautions and appropriate information on safety implications.

For example, the operating procedures addressing operating parameters will contain operating instructions about pressure limits, temperature ranges, flow rates, what to do when an upset condition occurs, what alarms and instruments are pertinent if an upset condition occurs, and other subjects.

Another example of using operating instructions to properly implement operating procedures is in starting up or shutting down the process. In these cases, different parameters will be required from those of normal operation. These operating instructions need to clearly indicate the distinctions between startup and normal operations, such as the appropriate allowances for heating up a unit to reach the normal operating parameters. Also, the operating instructions need to describe the proper method for increasing the temperature of the unit until the normal operating temperatures are reached.

The employer must develop and implement written operating procedures, consistent with the process safety information, that provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities involved in each covered process.

Operating Procedures Description

PSM operating procedures describe:

  • tasks to be performed,
  • data to be recorded,
  • operating conditions to be maintained,
  • samples to be collected, and
  • safety and health precautions to be taken.

The procedures need to be technically accurate, understandable to employees, and revised periodically to ensure that they reflect current operations.

The process safety information package helps to ensure that the operating procedures and practices are consistent with the known hazards of the chemicals in the process and that the operating parameters are correct.

Operating procedures should be reviewed by engineering staff and operating personnel to ensure their accuracy and that they provide practical instructions on how to actually carry out job duties safely. OSHA believes that tasks and procedures related to the process must be appropriate, clear, consistent, and most importantly, well communicated to employees.

Elements of the Operating Procedures

The procedures must address at least the following elements:

Steps for each operating phase:

  • initial startup;
  • normal operations;
  • temporary operations;
  • emergency shutdown, including the conditions under which emergency shutdown is required, and the assignment of shut down responsibility to qualified operators to ensure emergency shutdown is executed in a safe and timely manner;
  • emergency operations;
  • normal shutdown; and
  • startup following a turnaround, or after an emergency shut down.

Operating limits:

  • consequences of deviation, and
  • steps required to correct or avoid deviation.

Safety and health considerations:

  • properties of, and hazards presented by, the chemicals used in the process;
  • precautions necessary to prevent exposure, including engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment;
  • temporary operations;
  • control measures to be taken if physical contact or airborne exposure occurs;
  • quality control for raw materials and control of hazardous chemical inventory levels;
  • any special or unique hazards; and
  • safety systems (e.g., interlocks, detection or suppression systems) and their functions.

Elements of the Operating Procedures (Continued)

Operating procedures must be readily accessible to employees who work in or maintain a process:

  • to make sure that a ready and up-to-date reference is available, and
  • to form a foundation for needed employee training.

The operating procedures must be reviewed as often as necessary to ensure that they reflect current operating practices, including changes in process chemicals, technology, and equipment, and facilities.

The employer must certify annually that these operating procedures are current and accurate to guard against outdated or inaccurate operating procedures.

The employer must develop and implement safe work practices to provide for the control of hazards during work activities such as:

  • lockout/tagout;
  • confined space entry;
  • opening process equipment or piping; and
  • control over entrance into a facility by maintenance, contractor, laboratory, or other support personnel.

These safe work practices must apply both to employees and to contractor employees.

Instructions

Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Operating procedures provide general instructions or details on what steps are to be taken or followed in carrying out the stated procedures.

2. PSM operating procedures describe:

3. Which of the following does OSHA believe to be most important about the tasks and procedures related to the process?

4. The employer must certify every three years that these operating procedures are current and accurate to guard against outdated or inaccurate operating procedures.

5. Safe work practices under the PSM program must apply to which of the following


Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.