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This page contains previous items from our Latest News feature.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on calibration of risk matrices for process safety

Publish Date: 2015-10-20
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Vol. 38, pages 163-168, November, 2015.


Risk matrices are used to rate and rank risks of hazardous events for processes. They provide for the lookup of the risk level for an event using its severity and likelihood levels which are estimated subjectively. Risk levels are associated with requirements for risk reduction to achieve tolerable risk. Often, risk matrices are defined using numerical values for event severity and likelihood levels. Therefore, the resulting risk levels denote numerical values of risk. Consequently, such risk matrices must be calibrated with reference to appropriate numerical risk tolerance criteria, or process safety target levels, to define appropriate risk reduction requirements. Calibration poses several pitfalls for the unwary. Many practitioners are unaware of these pitfalls and use risk matrices that are calibrated improperly producing incorrect risk reduction requirements. This paper describes how these pitfalls can be avoided and provides calibration procedures. Use of these procedures will help to avoid incorrect decisions on risk reduction for processes.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on the treatment of domino effects in PHA

Publish Date: 2015-09-17
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in Process Safety Progress, Volume 34, Issue 3, pages 220–227, September 2015.


Domino effects produce hazard scenarios that involve escalating consequences as a chain of linked events propagates throughout and beyond the process where they originate. Such scenarios have been the subject of accident survey studies and quantitative risk analyses but their identification in process hazard analysis (PHA) has received less attention. This article discusses the nature and types of domino effects and a procedure is provided to address them in PHA. The role of separate domino effects studies is described, insights into domino effects that can assist PHA practitioners are provided, and some pitfalls in addressing domino effects are identified. The identification of domino effects in PHA is illustrated using an actual accident that occurred in a refinery.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on Chemical Reactivity and HAZOP Studies

Publish Date: 2015-08-13
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in the Loss Prevention Bulletin, Issue 244, August, 2015.


Chemical reactivity hazards are present in many industrial processes. They can be overlooked in process hazard analysis studies. The nature of Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies and reactivity hazards pose challenges in identifying a complete set of reactivity scenarios. Focusing directly on the identification of initiating events helps to ensure reactivity scenarios are not overlooked.

OSHA Clarification - Application of the Retail Facility Exemption

Publish Date: 2015-07-30
Category: Industry News

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its interpretation of the exemption of retail facilities from coverage by the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFR 1910.119). The revision is in accordance with the President's August 1, 2013, Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.

Previously, OSHA interpreted the exemption broadly and considered a facility to be exempt from PSM coverage if it derived more than 50 percent of its income from direct sales of highly hazardous chemicals to the end user. This "50 percent test" allows employers who sell or distribute large, bulk quantities of highly hazardous chemicals directly to end users to claim the exemption, even if the end users are themselves commercial establishments. This result is directly contrary to OSHA's original intent.

OSHA has rescinded all prior policy documents, letters of interpretation, and memoranda related to the retail exemption and the 50 percent test. OSHA now interprets the retail facilities exemption in reference to the North American Industry Classification System Manual (NAICS) Manual:

Only facilities, or the portions of facilities, engaged in retail trade as defined by the current and any future updates to sectors 44 and 45 of the NAICS Manual may be afforded the retail exemption at 29 CFR 1910.119(a)(2)(i).

Further details can be found at:


Executive Order Working Group Releases Fact Sheet and Other Documents

Publish Date: 2015-06-11
Category: Industry News

The Executive Order (EO) Working Group has released a fact sheet, Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security, that highlights their accomplishments to date. The fact sheet provides information on actions that have been taken to improve chemical facility safety and security in these areas:

      • Strengthening community planning and preparedness
      • Enhancing Federal operational coordination
      • Improving data management
      • Modernizing policies and regulations
      • Incorporating stakeholder feedback and developing best practices

The EO Working Group also released these additional documents:

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on competency requirements for process safety auditors

Publish Date: 2015-06-09
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in Process Safety Progress, Volume 34, Issue 2, pages 179–182, June 2015.


Auditing is a critical aspect of a process safety program which ensures the program is designed appropriately and implemented properly. The competency of process safety auditors is essential for quality audits. The nature of process safety auditing is described to clarify the responsibilities of auditors. Suitable criteria for selecting process safety auditors to ensure their competency are identified and discussed. Criteria for lead auditors, team auditors, and audit teams are addressed. Also, performance metrics that can be used to judge the performance of process safety auditors are described.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors letter to the editor

Publish Date: 2015-06-09
Category: Primatech News

The letter addresses managing process risks and recommends that companies should ensure their process safety programs include some form of meaningful and appropriate risk criteria.

The letter was published in the June 2015 issue of Process Safety Progress, Volume 34, Issue 2, page 106.

UK HSE Releases Guide to the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) 2015

Publish Date: 2015-06-08
Category: Industry News

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released guidance on the COMAH Regulations 2015 that came into effect on June 1, 2015 (L111, Third edition). The COMAH Regulations 1999 have been revoked.

This guidance on the COMAH Regulations 2015 gives advice on the scope of the Regulations and the duties imposed by them. Many duties are similar to the 1999 Regulations but the 2015 Regulations contain some new or changed duties including:

  • The list of substances covered by the Regulations has been updated and aligned to the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation.
  • Some definitions have been changed.
  • There are transition arrangements for safety reports.
  • For emergency planning, there is a new requirement for cooperation by designated authorities in tests of the external emergency plan.
  • There are stronger requirements for public information including a duty for lower tier establishments to provide public information. There are provisions for electronic access to up to date public information.
  • The domino effects duty is broader, including a duty for members of a domino group to cooperate with neighbouring sites to share relevant information.
  • Stronger requirements for the competent authority on inspection.
  • After a major accident local authorities must now inform people likely to be affected.

A free copy of the guide can be downloaded at:


Primatech has posted three slide shows on SlideShare.

Publish Date: 2015-04-20
Category: Primatech News

Click the links to view them.

Ten Tips on HAZOP Quality Control

Seven Questions Addressed by PHA

Ten Process Safety Maxims

CSB safety recommendations

Publish Date: 2015-04-20
Category: Industry News

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has voted to update the status of sixteen recommendations resulting from twelve accident investigations. They are highlighted on a new CSB web page designed to update the public on status changes for safety recommendations: