Original Date: 03/17/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Process Safety Management
As a large-batch chemical manufacturer, Polaroid produces various types of chemicals (e.g., flammables, carcinogens, mutants) at its film-producing facilities in Waltham and Freetown, Massachusetts. Operations typically run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and produce 500,000 to one million kilograms of chemicals per year. Approximately 60 chemical processes which run at Polaroid fall under the volume or flammability criteria of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. In May 1992, Polaroid began complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Draft Document by establishing safety teams and committees at each chemical manufacturing site to interpret OSHA requirements, write policy manuals, and implement the procedures.
New processes must undergo a hazards and operability study. Process analyses follow a safety information checklist to ensure all process factors are considered while process hazard analyses use a what-if format. To improve the ease of using its Process Safety Management procedures, Polaroid computerized OSHA’s Process Hazard Analysis (PHA). PHA requires the involvement of all process personnel (e.g., operator, engineer, supervisor, building engineer, process engineer, chemist, electrical engineer, environmental representative). The procedures involve developing a process block diagram, analyzing the process’ chemistry, and reviewing all material safety data sheets related to the process. Next, a draft report is generated and reviewed by all process personnel. The process engineer then prepares the final report on the process. Polaroid uses an Action Tracking System to sort and track action items by building or employee.
Polaroid uses PHAs on all of its processes regardless of whether they fall under OSHA requirements. Any modifications to the process chemicals, technology, equipment, or procedures must be identified and reviewed before implementing the change. For personnel changes, Polaroid reviews the employee’s training and skills to ensure an appropriate expertise level is maintained.
Polaroid’s Chemical Operations Division has shared the procedures of its process safety management throughout the corporation. These procedures have improved the safety environment of chemical processes by effectively reducing the severity and risk of potential accidents.
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