I have the coolest job at Celanese. In process safety, we save lives, protect the environment and preserve all our jobs by keeping bad things from happening in our manufacturing plants. This may seem like a rather bold statement, but consider the toxic gas release that occurred in Bhopal, India in 1984. The company which had the incident no longer exist. The chemical industry was transformed in a positive way through regulations and voluntary improvements to the way we design, build, operate and maintain our manufacturing facilities. The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) was formed as a result of that incident. The field of process safety exists to prevent these low-probability, high-consequence incidents. The worst attitude we could adopt is to think “it can’t happen here.”
It Can Happen Here!
To reinforce that “it could happen here,” we have an award-winning process safety lessons learned program. We’ve borrowed an idea from BP and created high-quality videos of incidents from our history, such as the 1987 explosion in Pampa, Texas. Every Celanese employee should review this incident and never forget why we stress process safety. We consulted with friends at Dow to create our technology specific PS Rules. These rules are designed for operators to understand why we have controls in place. We publish an annual book of learnings borrowed from our friends at Phillips 66. The process safety lessons learned initiative won a 2015 European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) Responsible Care award and was a 2015 runner up initiative of the year at the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
Over the last five years, we’ve reduced the number of process safety incidents by 86 percent. A big piece of our data driven strategy to reduce the number and severity of process safety incidents is to improve the human reliability element. The Walk the Line program was developed at Celanese and focuses on culture change by improving operational continuity with operational discipline and readiness tools. Since we’ve shared this toolbox with the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturer’s (AFPM) Advancing Process Safety group, approximately 35 companies have adopted some aspect of the program, and 11 companies have contributed practices to our tool box. Walk the Line was a 2014 ACC initiative of the year, CCPS 2015 best paper winner, and AFPMs 2017 Herding Cats award winner. Another human reliability initiative is our Know Your Limits program. Borrowed from Flint Hills Resources and Phillips 66, we’ve put our own spin on this program, giving operators the opportunity to correct things in the process before an event occurs.
We have numerous other examples of how we share with the industry and with each other to improve:
- Jim Muoio, a CCPS fellow, is leading the ACC Enhancing Process Safety initiative to improve process safety in the industry.
- Chris Devlin won a best paper award in 2017 for a collaborative PHA paper with several industry peers. Chris has contributed to several CCPS books and helped develop the CCPS professional certification program.
- Jordi Costa has delivered several papers at the CCPS European process safety conference.
- Narrows, Bishop, Clear Lake, Edmonton, Ocotlan and Cangrejera were considered our “focus sites.” They’ve improved so much, we now consider them our spotlight sites!
- Kaiserslauten had the most minor fires of any site – now they have none.
When it comes to Stewardship improvement, look at what works, and then do that!