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PT Notes

Process Safety Competence and the IEC 61511 Standard

PT Notes is a series of topical technical notes on process safety provided periodically by Primatech for your benefit. Please feel free to provide feedback.

The IEC 61511 standard on functional safety addresses the part of process safety that relates to the correct functioning of safety instrumented systems (SISs) and other protection layers. The standard contains requirements for the management of functional safety. It states that persons, departments or organizations involved in SIS safety life-cycle activities shall be competent to carry out the activities for which they are accountable.

The standard lists various items that shall be addressed and documented when considering the competence of persons, departments, organizations or other units involved in SIS safety life-cycle activities. They include appropriate engineering knowledge, training, and experience, and also safety engineering knowledge. Process safety analysis is given as an example of safety engineering.

Notably, the second edition of the standard specifies that a procedure shall be in place to manage competence of all those involved in the SIS life cycle and that periodic assessments shall be carried out to document the competence of individuals against the activities they are performing and on change of an individual within a role.

Hazard and risk assessment are key parts of the SIS life cycle. Consequently, practitioners of hazard and risk assessments that support functional safety are covered by the competence requirements of the standard. In particular, practitioners of process hazard analysis (PHA) and risk assessment methods such as layers of protection analysis (LOPA) should be demonstrably competent.

For information on professional certifications in process safety, PHA, and LOPA click here.

Some relevant publications are:

Functional safety – Safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector – Part 1: Framework, definitions, system, hardware and application programming requirements, IEC 61511-1, Edition 2.0, 2016.

Implement a competency management system for process safety, Hydrocarbon Processing, 95 (7), pages 77 - 79, July 2016.

The meaning and importance of process safety competency, Process Safety Progress, Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 171–175, June 2016.

Competency requirements for process hazard analysis (PHA) teams, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Volume 33, pages 151-158, January 2015.

Competency requirements for process safety auditors, Process Safety Progress, Volume 34, Issue 2, pages 179–182, June 2015.

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