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Where to Start with PSM

  • 1.  Where to Start with PSM

    Posted 28 days ago

    I've recently started at a new facility and I have a requirement to complete PSM training. I was given three different in-person options offered by two different companies, but all three mention different 'Course Content' and 'Target Audience' -- one is compliance, one is designing and implementing, and one is essentials boot camp for personnel. There was no clear indication from my manager as to which I should attend. I don't have any prior experience with PSM, so I have been looking through the discussion posts and other CCPS resources. One post that stood out clarified the CCPS Process Safety Boot Camp as a survey class, not a training course. But comparing duration and agendas, I'm not sure what makes the CCPS Boot Camp not suited for training compared to these courses offered by the other companies. How do I know what course is right for me and my role? I'm the only engineer on site so I don't necessarily have a reference. I want to learn something that I can apply to the industry as a whole, not just at my company.​

    Tia Arvaneh
    Process Engineer
    CA United States

  • 2.  RE: Where to Start with PSM

    Posted 27 days ago
    Edited by Steve Cutchen 27 days ago
    So, first off, it's hard to offer advice without looking at the stuff you've looked at with respect to course contents. But I would not think a compliance class would be proper as an introduction. That should be aimed at specialists in your company, e.g., those that prepare for audits.

    Designing and Implementing is difficult to analyze. I'm not sure what that is, but it seems it might be aimed at those that are responsible for implementing PSM for a company, and evolving it to a better, more current process. That might be assuming a strong base-level of understanding.

    A "boot camp"-type class, especially if it is a CCPS class, would seem to be the best class for providing fundamentals. It is going to be colored by whatever the perspective is of those that put together the curriculum, and there is an ever evolving perspective... But if you are at an entry level to PSM, just getting a strong introduction to a legitimate PSM structure will be very helpful. You'll learn the components; Hazard Identification, Procedures, Management of Change, Risk Assessment, and so on.

    There is a lot of discussion at high levels for those that think about how PSM should evolve and be improved, but a true fundamentals class is still the bedrock for implementation and perspective. Maybe you will feel the pull of the science, and decide at some point to specialize in PSM. That happened to me after 25 years in industry. Eight years later, I left industry to join the US Chemical Safety Board. If you are moved to learn even more, perhaps you will eventually develop and share your experiences and expertise with the next generation.

    If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Steve Cutchen
    Investigator, retired
    US Chemical Safety Board
    Houston TX

  • 3.  RE: Where to Start with PSM

    Posted 27 days ago

    Here is a start:

    Take the CCPS Boot Camp as it is for beginners.

    Sign up for and start reviewing all the CCPS Safety Beacons.

    Start reviewing all the US Chemical Safety Board videos on Incidents and the final reports.

    Find an process expert within your company and develop a deep relationship. Ask many questions.

    Meet and find someone in your industry that you can consult with on PSM and the requirements (legal and Safety based). Learn the Process Safety hazards and incidents in your industry.

    Go back and have a deeper discussion with your supervisor on what you plan to do and if they have requirements, suggestions or advice. What management system exists or needs improved in your site/company?

    When you get all that completed, you will have begun you process safety journey. Keep after learning and implementing.

    Gary Koehler

  • 4.  RE: Where to Start with PSM

    Posted 27 days ago
    With the given info I would take the designing and implementing class. Every facility I have worked at could improve their PSM processes. Assuming that you will be responsible for some portion of the compliance, understanding how to build and implement a good system will be valuable as you move your facilities PSM compliance forward.

    Thomas Harvan
    (563) 227-1579
    (734) 775-8060 mobile

  • 5.  RE: Where to Start with PSM

    Posted 27 days ago
    Tia, I am one of the instructors for the CCPS Boot Camp and I highly recommend it as a new person responsible for leading the Process Safety Management charge.

    There are several open enrollment courses this year with the next one in New Orleans from April 14 -17.

    Let me know if you need more info.

    Regards, Bob

  • 6.  RE: Where to Start with PSM

    Posted 27 days ago


    Here is my recommendation:

    Sign up and take the CCPS Boot Camp as training. 

    Set up a discussion with your boss and understand the assignment and how it relates to your job duties now and potentially in the future.   Ask lots of questions  

    Sign up for and review all the CCPS Monthly Process Safety Beacons. 

    Watch the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) videos on Process Safety incidents.  Read the final reports on any event somewhat related to your industry. 

    Find a PSM expert in your company and pick their brain at some regular frequency.  Find out the hazards. 

    Read the OSHA law in Code of Federal Register (CFR-) 1910.119.  Do all the requirements apply to your situation?

    Check for any inspections by OSHA ( regulatory or VPP) or other agencies on your site and company.  Ask the boss what needs improvement.

    Later connect with PS experts in your industry.  Find out how to prevent process safety incidents and make it happen.

    Once you get going with that, you will have started the process safety part of your career. Keep learning and implementing until you retire.

    PSM is all about saving lives!  The law brings requirements that must be met but process safety is a moral obligation on us in the chemical engineering profession to prevent deaths and injuries.

    Gary Koehler
    Houston TX