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Operating Procedures – Risk Based Process Safety: Pillar 8

Pillar 8 (Risk Based Process Safety) – Operating Procedures

Operating procedures are written instructions (including procedures that are stored electronically and printed on demand) that:

  • List the steps for a given task; and
  • Describe the manner in which the steps are to be performed.

Procedures are generally divided into three categories.

  • Operating procedures govern activities that generally involve producing a product. 
  • Maintenance procedures, generally involve testing, inspecting, calibrating, maintaining, or repairing equipment.
  • Safe work procedures, which are often supplemented with permits (i.e., a checklist that includes an authorisation step), fill the gap between the other two sets of procedures. 

Good procedures also describe the process, hazards, tools, protective equipment, and controls in sufficient detail that operators understand the hazards, can verify that controls are in place, and can confirm that the process responds in an expected manner.

Procedures critical to the safe operation or maintenance of equipment should reference hazard review information (as appropriate) and include consequence of deviation warnings.  Procedures should also provide instructions for troubleshooting when the system does not respond as expected.  Procedures should specify when an emergency shutdown should be executed and should also address special situations, such as temporary operation with a specific equipment item out of service.

Operating procedures are normally used to control activities such as transitions between products, periodic cleaning of process equipment, preparing equipment for certain maintenance activities, and other activities routinely performed by operators.

The scope of this element is limited to those operating procedures that describe the tasks required to safely start up, operate, and shut down processes, including emergency shutdown. Operating procedures complement safe work and asset integrity procedures.

Related Vlogs

 Check out the Vlog on “Introduction to RBPS” and also an accompanying Quiz (Advanced Level).

CCPS Risk Based Process Safety Introduction_RBPS
Risk Based Process Safety Quiz_Advanced Level

Gap Analysis Tool

Risk Based Process Safety Gap Analysis Tool Free Template

Check out the excel Gap Analysis Tool that I have developed focusing on the 20 pillars (or elements) within the RBPS framework.

There are 2 options available for the download as follows:

You might want to download the Free version, check it out and then use the 10% Coupon Code for the Paid version (limited time offer).

The choice is yours and there is no hard sell involved.


The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS)  describes Process Safety Management (PSM) as:

“The application of management principles and systems to the identification, understanding and control of process hazards in order to prevent process related injuries and accidents”.

Extracted from my 3 Day  Process Safety Management (PSM) Training Course (which includes workshops, role playing and examples). .

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