Five specialists review concepts, challenges, and ongoing plans to strengthen prevention in all facilities.
Safety Engineering team Alejandro Drigo - Safety Engineer, Leonardo Boccanera - Safety Engineering Manager, and Lucas Greganti -Safety Engineer.
What is Process Safety?
Alejandro Drigo (Safety Engineer): It consists in the implementation of management systems (programs, procedures, standards, audits, evaluations) so that process risks can be identified, understood, and controlled, achieving prevention in incidents and injuries, and the mitigation of possible losses of chemical substances or energies. All systems, equipment, and components that might create potential catastrophic failures are critical for safety processes.
Leonardo Cappuchio (Instrumentation Manager): the security of the processes is to feel ownership of them; it is the outcome of teamwork in which emphasis must be placed on people, technologies, and facilities.
Why is this management important?
Roberto Musante (Process Senior Manager): to avoid accidents and incidents of great magnitude. It is especially important in the steelworks industry due to the energy levels we use and the risks associated with substances used during the process. The potential of process accidents and incidents is such that it might significantly affect the company and the community that surrounds us.
How is Safety Processes management incorporated?
Roberto: The inclusion of new concepts and tools was achieved through the assistance of first-class professionals. (from Dupont, a worldwide leading company on this topic). It allowed enriching the work team highly. The implementation of process safety management represented an opportunity in itself.
Gabriel Cervellini (Process Senior Manager): With counseling from professionals, here in Processes, we have worked very hard in Process Risk Analyses (PRA) in multidisciplinary groups with the participation of different areas such as Processes, Operations, Maintenance, Safety, and Engineering.
Most recent initiatives that strengthen themselves in this exercise are the assurance of the effectiveness of proposed actions in critical processes, and in critical processes practices (CPPs), taking into account manual and automatic actions facing the critical variables alarm trigger. It implies detailed and very demanding work that has great importance in obtaining the needed robustness in the safety processes and consolidating the work done in PRA and CPPs.
Which are the main challenges in the management of safety in processes?
Jorgelina Perez (Process Senior Manager): it requires a very deep knowledge of the process, its proven and probable risks, and the needed barriers to contain them. It implies an investigation of the values and conditions of the original design of our equipment so that we can take all this back to base. Therefore, a multidisciplinary analysis of the management of changes is very important to apply improvements. Today the challenge is that this change management leads us to search for a better solution than the one offered on the market to achieve the safest possible process.
What examples can you give us about implementing safety processes in the plants?
Alejandro: One of its most representative elements is the Processes Risk Analysis (PRA) previously mentioned. The objective is to identify and understand dangers, evaluate their risks, and control/reduce the most significant, applying actions (recommendations) and doing a follow-up. We are implementing tools broadly used in the industry, such as the Bow Tie diagram, and we benchmark with World Steel and other steel mills around the world. We have systems that, when faced with any considered modification that alters the base of the design of the process, allow an evaluation of its possible consequences and authorize them with hierarchical roles and levels corresponding to the risk before its effective implementation on the field.
The preparation and response to the emergency is the component that addresses the last protective barrier of all processes to avoid or mitigate possible consequences. We follow up on the fire safety systems, and we have an ongoing investment plan to install such systems. In turn, we annually execute a series of drills that allow us to train our personnel and the emergency services in the possible risk scenarios of our processes.
When relevant process events occur at Ternium’s facilities worldwide, our safety processes engineers analyze them. The lessons learned are then transversely carried to similar processes to strengthen their layers of protection. This action allows us to work not only on potential events but also to learn from past events and avoid them from happening again.