Principles of Process Safety Leadership (PSLG )

The Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) of The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) (the organisation that represents chemical and pharmaceutical businesses throughout Great Britain), which is made up of key representatives from several high hazard industries on Thursday 16 July launched a set of key principles (Press release) to enhance the safety of their industrial processes.

Stephen Elliott, CIA Chief Executive, said “the chemical industry has a good record on process safety and learning from other sectors, and in response to the Buncefield and Texas City incidents we published a Best Practice Guide in 2008 based on detailed research of leadership in our member companies. But we can never be complacent and must always be looking for continuous improvement. The Process Safety Principles launched today are a timely reminder of the responsibility industry leaders have to ensure that we minimise the risks from our high hazard processes to employees and to the general population around chemical sites. “

The Principals as pdf

They set out eight guidelines emphasising the importance of strong leadership from the board to the factory floor to manage the risks of potentially dangerous industrial processes. Companies will now be expected to show real progress towards learning from previous incidents and improving the management and control of process safety hazards.

Principles of Process Safety Leadership (PSLG )
Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) is committed to improving process safety in the industries we represent. We believe that to achieve this, industry leaders have a critical role to play and must commit to establishing the following principles of process safety management in each business:


  • Clear and positive process safety leadership is at the core of managing a major hazard business and is vital to ensure that risks are effectively managed;
  • Process safety leadership requires board level involvement and competence. For companies with boards located outside the UK then the responsibility to show this leadership rests with the most senior UK managers;
  • Good process safety management does not happen by chance and requires constant active engagement;
  • Board level visibility and promotion of process safety leadership is essential to set a positive safety culture throughout the organisation;
  • Engagement of the workforce is needed in the promotion and achievement of good process safety management;
  • Monitoring process safety performance based on both leading and lagging indicators is central to ensuring business risks are being effectively managed;
  • Publication of process safety performance information provides important public assurance about the management of risks by an organisation; and
  • Sharing best practice across industry sectors, and learning and implementing lessons from relevant incidents in other organisations, are important to maintain the currency of corporate knowledge and competence.

    The PSLG regards these principles as fundamental to the successful management of a major hazard industry. We will work with all stakeholders to establish them as foundations to effective management of risks in our businesses via the following

    Organisation and resources:

  • Process safety accountabilities should be defined and championed at board level. Board members, senior executives and managers should be held accountable for process safety leadership and performance;
  • At least one board member should be fully conversant in process safety management in order to advise the board of the status of process safety risk management within the organisation and of the process safety implications of board decisions;
  • Appropriate resources should be made available to ensure a high standard of process safety management throughout the organisation and staff with process safety management responsibilities should have or develop an appropriate level of competence;
  • Organisations should develop a programme for the promotion of process safety by active senior management engagement with the workforce, both direct and contract staff, to underline the importance of process safety leadership and to support the maintenance of a positive process safety culture within the organisation;
  • Systems and arrangements should be in place to ensure the active involvement of the workforce in the design of process safety controls and in the review of process safety performance;
  • Business risks relating to process safety should be assessed and reviewed regularly using an appropriate business risk analysis methodology;
  • Leading and lagging process safety indicators should be set for the organisation and periodically reviewed to ensure they remain appropriate for the needs of the business.
    Information on process safety performance should be routinely reviewed at board level and performance in the management of process safety risk is published in annual reports;

  • Companies should actively engage with others within their sector and elsewhere to share good practice and information on process safety incidents that may benefit others.
    Companies should have mechanisms and arrangements in place to incorporate learning from others within their process safety management programmes;

  • Systems and arrangements should be in place to ensure the retention of corporate knowledge relating to process safety management. Such arrangements should include information on the basis of safety design concept of the plant and processes, plant and process changes, and any past incidents that impacted on process safety integrity and the improvements adopted to prevent a recurrence.

    PSLG commitment
    Implementation of the above process safety leadership principles and arrangements may vary in both detail and time in different organisations. However in recognition of the essential role these principles and arrangements play in the management and sustainability of our major hazard businesses, as members of PSLG we commit to working to establish them in the industries and businesses we represent as foundations to effective process safety management and the prevention of major accidents.


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