October 20-21, 2015
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2015 National Chemical Safety Symposium – hosted by ChemStewards®
brought together more than 120 SOCMA members and other industry
professionals to hear subject-matter experts from industry and academia
discuss the latest trends and methodologies in process safety and
operational excellence used to create a safe and secure manufacturing
the event SOCMA also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its flagship
environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) management
program with a reception honoring members that have been with the
program since its inception. The reception was complete with a
celebratory cake and balloons.
With process safety and occupational excellence as main topics,
keynote speakers Dr. Thomas Connelly, Executive Director of the American
Chemical Society (ACS), and Dr. M. Sam Mannan, Chemical Engineering
Department Regents Professor from Texas A&M University, reinforced
the need for developing a safety culture in chemical facilities and
Mannan, who returned for his third keynote address at the symposium,
told attendees that creating a safety culture starts with strong
leadership, training, setting goals, implementing metrics, holding
employees accountable and reinforcing behavior by rewarding those who
meet or exceed expectations.
"Any organization that wishes to improve and sustain process safety
performance must clearly establish performance goals and objectives,” he
said. “Goals feed objectives and objectives feed strategies."
Mannan said, "Failure to learn is one reason we see incidents like
West Texas happen over and over again. A competency assessment matrix is
A critical part in building a safety culture starts with leadership,
Connelly said. Good leaders provide direction and lead the charge. They
establish safety policies, seek open communication and build trust.
Leaders also show an active commitment to safety, inspire others to
value safety, and lead by example.
"I am responsible for my own safety and the safety of those I work
with" is a key safety principal guiding industry, Connelly said. He also
told attendees injuries can be prevented, and 96 percent of injuries
result from actions of people.
"Safety is not about metrics; it’s about the people and avoiding pain
and suffering for employees and their families," Connelly said.
Connelly also stressed that collaborations between industry and
academia can enhance safety cultures in academic research labs and
better prepare students for industrial careers. "Tools like ChemStewards
for Labs can assist organizations in creating a safety culture in both
industry and academic labs," he said.
Highlighting the morning lineup, Safety Symposium attendees heard a
case study about Eli Lilly's implementation of PSM, received information
on AIChE's Vision 20/20 program, which provides companies with process
safety resources. Industry representatives also shared process safety
challenges and best practices during a panel discussion. In the
afternoon session, attendees received great information on navigating
news and social media during a crisis, heard an update on industry news
from Washington, and heard from an industry panel about operational
excellence and how it can work for your company, among other great
Leading into the symposium, Jerry L. Jones, a process safety
consultant with AIChE, led a workshop on Identifying Process Safety
Incident Warning Signs with more than 70 attendees. Jones shared a
wealth of information on process safety, provided examples of warning
signs and shared case studies. He also had attendees break into groups
to discuss normalization or deviance or drift and come up with examples
they have heard about or seen. He said those looking for incident
warning signs need training, and everyone in an organization needs to
believe that all accidents are preventable. He also stressed that risk
management should be a core competency of any organization.
Thank you to all of our 2015 National Chemical Safety Symposium Sponsors!