4 ways to help plants comply with safety regulations and standards

July 29, 2015
Smarter tech and SIS are helping companies keep up with OSHA, the EPA, the IEC and the ISA.

Traditional safety concerns coupled with newer cyber threats are increasing the challenge of ensuring safe and secure industrial operations. Risks to people, property, the environment and business continuity are at stake. Smarter technologies and safety instrumented systems (SIS) are helping companies comply with safety regulations and standards from entities such as OSHA, the EPA, the IEC, and the ISA.

Safety platform

Vendor HIMA recommends having a safety platform that is independent from process control system platforms.

“Using different technologies significantly increases the effort required to hack both systems,” says Stefan Ditting, product manager at HIMA Paul Hildebrandt GmbH in Germany. The company offers four safety platforms that can integrate with but remain physically separate from control systems.

Transmitters and controllers

Safety control, alarm, and shutdown system providers aim for a high-speed response to threatening conditions. Recent developments address both safety and security concerns.

Embedding a switch and a transmitter within one device offers an easier and more-affordable alternative to adapting a process transmitter for safety use, says Wil Chin, a vice president at United Electric Controls.

BMS library

Burner management systems (BMS) are designed to ensure safe startup, operation, and shutdown of burner units and prevent hazards such as explosions. ABB recently released a BMS library for its High Integrity (HI) safety system to reduce engineering effort and improve operations and maintenance of burner management applications.

The library enables “complete control over the startup and operation of burners,” including monitoring of the ignition sequence, valve leak testing, and control of the fuel supply, says Luis Duran, ABB safety business development manager.

Integrated safety drive

Machine builders seeking to improve end-user safety and uptime have new options. The Kinetix 5500 servo drive with integrated safety from Rockwell Automation allows safety signals to travel via the same wires and IP addresses as control and motion signals, eliminating the need for a hardwired safety system.

“Putting safety on the network eases the configuration of and updates to safety functions,” says Mike Schweiner, product manager at Rockwell Automation.

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