In his book In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters encouraged companies not to wait until they had every i dotted and every t crossed before beginning their journey to excellence. Peters’ advice was Ready, Fire, Aim, meaning learn what you can and do some preparation, launch the initiative, adjust your knowledge based on the results and fire again. Ready, Fire, Aim was Peters’ way of describing what is often referred to as a continuous improvement process (i.e., Six Sigma). Ready, Fire, Aim also describes the safety life cycle that forms the foundation of ANSI/ISA 84.00.01 (IEC 61511) (See Fig. 1).
The single biggest mistake made when approaching ANSI/ISA 84.00.01 (IEC 61511), especially for the first time, is failing to recognize that this is a continuous improvement process, and that if you don’t get things exactly right the first or even the second time, you not only will, but should take additional opportunities in the future. In fact, depending on other particulars, the company may be required by regulation (i.e., OSHA) to conduct five-year reviews and updates.
By definition, IPSs exist to reduce risk to pre-defined levels approved by senior management. There is but one way to look at it; that is preemptive capital preservation, and it is exactly what shareholders require and what executives are legally bound to do.
In a knowledge-rich, risk-adverse safety culture, one that understands that it is possible to learn from history, lives are preserved, community and shareholder relationships are preserved, customers are preserved and asset investments are preserved. Now who wouldn’t want those things for their company?
About the author: David Harrold is co-founder and senior consultant of AFAB Group. He has more than 40 years experience in specifying, implementing, and operating industrial process control and instrumentation systems. He is co-author of Control System Power and Grounding Better Practice. In 1996, he was awarded ISA's H.G. Bailey Award for his contributions to developing and promoting the inclusion of control systems in process hazardous reviews. In 1998, he was awarded an ASBPE award for editorial excellence.
It’s not for lack of effort
To safety experts the widening gap is both frightening and disappointing because development of what eventually became ANSI/ISA84.0.1 began in 1984 with the first official release in 1996. In 2004 the committee reviewed, updated and re-released the standard. Almost from its 1984 beginning’s committee members conducted “town hall” like meetings in an effort to share the committees thinking and to solicit user input.
Despite these twenty-three years of Herculean efforts safety experts shake their heads in dismay when incidents such as Texas City occur. What more can they do to prevent another fatality or injury?