Prevention in the chemical and process industries: Future directions

Prevention in the chemical and process industries: Future directions

Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 25 (2012) 227e231 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Journal of Loss Prevention in the P...

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Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 25 (2012) 227e231

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

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Short communication

Prevention in the chemical and process industries: Future directions Genserik Reniers a, b, *, Paul Amyotte c a

Antwerp Research Group on Safety and Security (ARGoSS), University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability (CEDON), HUBrussel, Stormstraat 2, 1000 Brussels, Belgium c Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, Dalhousie University, 1360 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2X4 b

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history: Received 15 November 2010 Received in revised form 29 April 2011 Accepted 12 June 2011

This paper presents the current trends of future-oriented prevention management in the chemical-using industry. Two concepts leading to the next generation of managing prevention within chemical industrial areas are explained and discussed. The first concept concerns integrated design-based safety and security; the second concerns the collaboration of several chemical plants to increase sustainable development of their activities and their environment. Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Prevention Chemical industry Safety Security Sustainability Chemical industrial parks

1. Introduction Compared to the first decades of the previous century, the number of plants handling hazardous chemicals worldwide has increased substantially as a direct consequence of an ever increasing variety of products and processes. Simultaneously, plants have come to be located closer to each other and also closer to populous neighborhoods due to rising population densities. Although the number of non-major accidents (such as first-aid injuries, lost time incidents, and even single fatalities) can easily be decreased if an adequate prevention policy is installed in a chemical plant, it is much more difficult to ensure that major accidents (such as those with multiple fatalities) do not happen. In fact, worldwide, the incidence and the severity of major accidents tend to increase over time. Prior to 11 September 2001, a successful intentional attack (e.g. by terrorists) on a chemical facility was believed to be extremely unlikely (although terrorist threats had been recognized for a long time prior to this date). Chemical plant safety cultures did not take into account security vulnerability analyses, except in very special circumstances. The ramifications of the post 9/11 era include * Corresponding author. Antwerp Research Group on Safety and Security (ARGoSS), University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium. E-mail addresses: [email protected] (G. Reniers), [email protected] (P. Amyotte). 0950-4230/$ e see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jlp.2011.06.016

heightened security risk with regard to physical and economic damage. For the chemical industry in particular, being subject to risks which could potentially lead to major accidents (such as accidents involving several plants at once), the security implications for everyday operations might prove to be very significant in the prevention of incidents intentionally designed to cause damage. Ongoing research is therefore necessary to control major manmade hazards (whether they are accidental or deliberate by nature) and to prevent an increase in the incidence of major accidents. It is crucial to investigate, to elaborate and to promote ways to prevent man-made disasters in the chemical and process industries, from a safety as well as from a security viewpoint. To this end, two novel concepts are discussed in this article. First, the use of design-based safety and security in chemical plants is discussed and the relationship between safety and security is investigated. Second, the possibility of introducing and elaborating collaborability in chemical industrial parks is discussed. 2. Design-based safety and security Risk assessments and subsequent preventive measures for safety and for security are largely similar, but there are some differences. These differences can be understood by more thorough explanation of the difference between safety risks and security risks. In CCPS (2000), a safety risk is defined as “a measure of human


G. Reniers, P. Amyotte / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 25 (2012) 227e231

Table 1 Definitions of safety and security. Safety

- Protection against human and technical failure (Holtrop & Kretz, 2008) - Harm to people caused by arbitrary or non-intentional events (Hessami, 2004), natural disasters, human error or system or process errors (Elias et al., 2008)


- Protection against deliberate acts of people (Holtrop & Kretz, 2008) - Loss caused by intentional acts of people (Hessami, 2004) - Intentional human actions and errors (Elias, van Gullik, Muyselaar, & van Veen, 2008)

injury, environmental damage, or economic loss in terms of both the incident likelihood and the magnitude of the loss or injury”. The definition of a safety risk thus bears the suggestion of being accidental. Somebody who explicitly intends to cause damage to chemical facilities or perpetrate a theft of chemicals makes for a very different security risk analysis than is typically conducted to assess accidental safety risks, since a security risk (suggesting intentionality) is an expression of “the likelihood that a defined threat will exploit a specific vulnerability of a particular attractive target or combination of targets to cause a given set of consequences” (CCPS, 2003). Safety and security are thus two related concepts (Aven, 2006, 2008; Holtrop & Kretz, 2008; Johnston, 2004) but they have a different basis (Holtrop & Kretz, 2008). Table 1 gives an overview of some definitions for safety and security. Safety and security are thus different in the nature of incidents (Holtrop & Kretz, 2008); safety incidents are non-intentional, whereas security incidents are intentional. This implies that in the case of security, an aggressor is present who is influenced by the physical environment and by personal factors (George, 2008; Johnston, 2004; Randall, 2008). These parameters should thus be taken into account during security assessments. The aggressor may act from within the organization (internal) or from outside the organization (external) (Fontaine, Debray, & Salvi, 2007). Probabilities in terms of security are very hard to determine (Johnston, 2004). Hence, the identification of threats and the development of measures in terms of security are challenging tasks which are largely qualitative. The dual concepts of safety and security also differ in their approach (Aven, 2006; Holtrop & Kretz, 2008). In the case of safety assessments (or so-called ‘risk analyses’), risks are detected and analyzed by using consequences and probabilities (or frequencies). In the case of security assessments (or so-called ‘threat or vulnerability assessments’), threats are detected and analyzed by using consequences, vulnerabilities and target attractiveness (Holtrop & Kretz, 2008). The different approaches sometimes lead to the need for different and complementary protection measures with respect to safety and security. Table 2 provides an overview of different characteristics attached to safety and to security.

Table 2 Non-exhaustive list of differences between safety and security. Safety - The nature of an incident is an inherent risk - Non-intentional - No human aggressor - Quantitative probabilities and frequencies of safetyrelated risks are available - Risks are of a rational nature

Security - The nature of an incident is caused by a human act - Intentional - Human aggressor - Only qualitative (expert-opinion based) likelihood of security-related risks may be available - Threats may be of a symbolic nature

To avoid conflicting situations, an integrated approach (Arcadis Nederland, 2010; Fontaine et al. (2007); Hessami, 2004; Holtrop & Kretz, 2008; Neven, 2005) is required, thereby employing early risk assessments and making proper arrangements in a proactive stage. Only such an integrated approach inherently leads to a safer situation, integrality and awareness (Holtrop & Kretz, 2008). Moreover, according to Fontaine et al. (2007), integrating safety and security concepts results in cost-efficient protection measures. Integrating safety and security can be realized by using the concept of inherently safer design, since inherently more secure chemical processes are a natural by-product of application of safety-related design principles. An inherently safer design is one that avoids hazards instead of controlling them, particularly by reducing the amount of dangerous substances and the number of hazardous operations in a chemical plant (Hendershot, 2010). Methods should not focus on evaluating the safety of a proposed design. Instead, they should emphasize the synthesis of an inherently safer plant, and thus a more secure plant. The safety of a chemical process can be achieved through internal (inherent) and external means. Inherent safety (Kletz & Amyotte, 2010) is related to the intrinsic properties of the process; e.g. the use of safer chemicals and operations. The essence of inherent safety is to avoid and remove hazards rather than to control them by added-on protective systems. The concept of an inherently safer chemical facility has been known for decades. However, in spite of its clear potential benefits related to safety, health and the environment (SHE), as well as the cost benefits, there have been few large-scale applications in chemical plant design. As Kletz and Amyotte (2010) indicate, there has been some progress in this area but there are still hurdles to be overcome. Inherently safer design requires a basic change in approach. Instead of assuming that large quantities of hazardous materials can be kept under control, an attempt should be made to remove them or to substitute with more benign materials. Changes in belief and the corresponding actions do not come easily, since the traditional attitude in plant design is to rely heavily on addedon safety systems. This traditional approach is not at all costefficient, since added-on safety systems require continual staffing and maintenance throughout the life of the chemical organization, greatly adding to the lifetime costs as well as requiring repetitive training and keeping up with documentation, etc. Moreover, since 9/11, an aspect of inherently safer design which was not explicitly considered in its origin, has become increasingly important within the process industries e security (Moore, 2010). Inherent safety not only leads to SHE advantages and costefficiencies, it also leads to inherently more secure chemical plants; by applying the principles of inherently safer design, intentional as well as non-intentional disasters can be prevented in a cost-efficient way. The different aspects of inherently safer design and their impact on security are presented in Table 3. The importance of security in the process industries is for example demonstrated by Bajpai and Gupta (2005), Reniers, Dullaert, Audenaert, Ale, and Soudan (2008), Bernatik, Senovsky, and Pitt (2011) and many others. Design-based safety has been an important research subject for many years (e.g. Khan & Amyotte, 2005; Knegtering & Pasman, 2009, etc.). Table 3 indicates how design-based safety might have an impact on the security level of a chemical company. The practical and easily understandable features displayed in Table 3 may be used by plant management to improve a company’s security effectiveness. Furthermore, the process of designing security into architecture is known as Crime Prevention through Environmental Design or, abbreviated, CPTED. It involves designing the built environment (e.g. in the case of chemical plants, the chemical plant and chemical installation layout) to reduce the opportunity for, and fear of, crime

G. Reniers, P. Amyotte / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 25 (2012) 227e231 Table 3 Inherently safer design aspects and the relationship to security. Inherently safer design feature

Positive effect on chemical plant security


Intensification (minimization)




Attenuation (moderation) Limitation of effects




Amount of hazardous substances used is substantially decreased Number of hazardous substances used is substantially decreased Nature of hazardous substances used is modified to a certain extent An accident may still happen, but the possible effects (such as the possible number of fatalities) are limited No obvious consequences for security issues


Avoiding domino effects - Layout High - Open construction - Weak roof tank Incorrect assembly impossible Making status clear Tolerance of misuse Ease of control



A domino effect is made physically impossible Security is easier to assure


No obvious consequences for security issues


No obvious consequences for security issues


No obvious consequences for security issues Intentional acts are made more difficult, but are still possible The probability of a deliberate accident is decreased, since less control equipment is needed, less maintenance is needed, etc. Taking security aspects into software design may substantially lower the likelihood and/or the consequences of an intentional accident

Lowe medium Lowe medium


Source: based on Kletz and Amyotte (2010).

and disorder. Besides the inherently safer design of chemical processes, an unexplored field of interest with respect to security is the use of this CPTED concept in the process industries. This approach to security design within a chemical industrial area recognizes the intended use of space in a chemical facility or a part thereof, and is different from traditional security practice, which focuses on denying access to a crime target with barrier techniques such as locks, alarms, fences, and gates. CPTED takes advantage of opportunities for natural access control, surveillance and territorial reinforcement. If the design process includes CPTED, it is sometimes possible for natural and normal uses of the environment to meet similar security goals as physical and technical protection methods. Environmental security design is based on three functions of space: (i) Designation e What is the purpose or intended use of the space?, (ii) Definition e How is the space defined? What are the technological, social, legal, and psychological ways in which the space is defined?, and (iii) Design e Is the space designed to support the prescribed or intended human behaviors? The reader interested in CPTED is referred to Crowe (2000) and Randall (2008). 3. Collaborability Collaboration and competition provide alternative or simultaneous paths to success. Hence, in business, as in nature, decision makers must be aware that competing and collaborating are


equally valid aspects of corporate strategy. Collaboration indicates the highest level of involvement. As Lozano (2007) argues, only the highest level of partnerships among companies may truly help to balance among economic, environmental and social dimensions and may ultimately lead to the transition toward more sustainable societies. Hence, other (lower) types of cross-plant involvement such as communication, coordination, cooperation, or coopetition are not envisioned in the current paper. Although collaborative arrangements within many industries are well known and are often successful and appreciated, further optimization of these arrangements is possible many times over. By augmenting collaborative agreements and relationships and by linking up with other firms on the same level of a given market, a company may enjoy options otherwise unavailable to it, such as better access to markets, pooling or swapping of technologies and production volumes, access to specialized competencies, lower risk of R&D, enjoying larger economies of scale, benefiting from economies of scope, more elevated and more professional safety and security standards and practices, etc. In this manner, collaborative arrangements often lead to more sustainable solutions and situations. Various studies (e.g. Fichtner, Frank, & Rentz, 2004; Roberts, 2004) suggest that developing long-term partnerships to set up industrial parks by collaboration is primarily hindered by inter-firm barriers. The studies mention that potential problems are related to sharing of confidential information, dependence on partners, a territorial mentality of institutions, and possible instability of collaboration, among others. Gibbs and Deutz (2007), in fact, discovered few examples of networking among firms and concluded that most industrial parks are at a very early stage of development, and linkages are potential rather than real. Analogous to ‘coopetition’, which is a term introduced in the 1980s by Raymond Noorda to indicate a strategy to achieve the advantages of both cooperation and competition (Luo, 2007), Reniers, Dullaert, and Visser (2010) suggest to use ‘collaborability’ as a new term to pinpoint the situation in which (at least two) firms (consciously) collaborate to increase overall sustainability (and sustainable development) of their activities and their environment. To have a notion of the implications of introducing collaborability, a so-called SWOT analysis was carried out. SWOT is an abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method involving specifying the envisioned objectives of e.g. a business venture or a project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve those objectives. The SWOT analysis carried out for a possible collaborability project shows clearly the major opportunities of the collaborability concept and the numerous strengths that can be built on to elaborate truly sustainable (and safe and secure) chemical industrial parks. The identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of collaborability can be found in Table 4. The strengths of the collaborability concept can be summarized as Integration, Capabilities, Efficiency, Support, and Timing. Building on these strengths, collaborability offers great opportunities such as Extra resources, Spillovers, Business attraction pole, Image building, and Multi-plant safety and security management. The most important weaknesses are Long-term commitment failure and Chemical plant alignment failure. The essential threats are IP issues, Violation of mutual trust, Free-riding behavior, and Too big to manage. To indicate the usefulness of the collaborability concept, a hypothetical example is given. The security level of a company would be enhanced if, according to the collaborability concept, neighboring companies would strategically collaborate and for example jointly invest in security measures (e.g. guards on patrol, procurement of threat assessment software, etc.) and/or jointly work out a security program for their total premises. Such


G. Reniers, P. Amyotte / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 25 (2012) 227e231

Table 4 SWOT analysis for collaborability. Strengths - Available knowledge from different plants - Available competencies from different plants - Unique integration of know-how and capabilities within chemical industrial park - Strong support from authorities and public - Efficiency increase - Productivity increase - Safety increase - Security increase - The time is right (open innovation, eco-consciousness, the right mindset of many stakeholders in the chemicalusing industry)

Opportunities - Potential multiplicator effects (innovation initiatives, offering of capabilities, etc.) - Long-term know-how increase - Improvement of the public image of the chemical-using industry - (Proactive) impact on legislation - Attraction of ‘best-of-class visionary companies’ (not necessarily largest organizations) - Set-up of Multi-Plant Council to prevent major accidents - Decrease in long-term costs (in the supply chain, in operations, etc.) - Spillovers on training and education - Spillovers on research and development - Creation of business opportunities through unique collaboration initiatives

Weaknesses - Structural financing - The set-up requires pioneering work where alignment of the participating plants is needed - Collaborability requires a long-term vision from all participating companies

Threats - Issues related to Intellectual Property (IP), competition and market disturbance - Loss of ‘company secrets’ - Trust between plants gets violated - Too many chemical plants in the park to manage properly - Maintaining independence of individual plants - Company management no longer interested in participating in the Collaborability Concept within the industrial park - Very large and very small companies not really interested and showing free-riding behavior

collaborations would be more efficient and more effective than a single plant security approach, due to increased know-how with equal funding and enhanced information exchanges. 4. Conclusions The chemical sector comprises a variety of facilities and risks. Major chemical accident risks are well known due to the many major accidents that have happened since the beginning of the chemical industrial revolution in the 19th century. Since 11 September 2001, focus within the chemical industry on one particular type of risk, i.e. security risks, has greatly increased. Besides chemical plant safety, a number of industry initiatives (e.g. strengthening access control, increasing security manning, etc.) have been taken to enhance chemical plant security. Preventing chemical disasters can be realized in a more efficient and more cost-effective way via design-based safety and security. Using the principles of design-based safety and CPTED in the chemical and process industries can obviously lead to truly safer and more secure chemical plants and chemical industrial parks. Although many chemical companies are grouped into so-called clusters or industrial parks, (safety and) security efforts are currently concentrated on individual chemical facilities. At present, no approaches or concepts are available for enhancing crosscompany collaboration concerning security topics. However, dealing with cross-company related threats might prove very important in abating security risks and preventing man-made disasters. Captains of industry should focus more attention on the need to devote greater effort to cross-company disaster management, from a safety as well as a security viewpoint. Management strategies for countering cross-company major hazards should be developed in chemical industrial parks through systematic and guided collaboration between the companies composing the cluster. A picture is slowly emerging of chemical industrial clusters that will set their own sustainability standards through intensive collaboration. The growing complexity of chemical processes, organizations, and chemical logistics, global companies with independent business units, corporate goal-setting policies with local implementation, intra-cluster outsourcing and increased involvement by the public are all trends that chemical industrial

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