According to the Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The reverse is also true, particularly in the context of safety in the process industry.
In plant operations, when a failure potential arises and encounters risks, process issues are initiated. If an operation is not prepared to handle them effectively, this may even lead to an incident. To break this paradigm, operating teams must minimize risks in process operations, and pursue timely detection of a failure potential that may arise unexpectedly. When this approach becomes integrated into operating routines, process issues will be identified and addressed effectively.
A discussion follows on the origination and progression of process issues in plant operations, and their relationship with the phenomena that drive them — operations risks. An outline of a holistic approach to minimizing risks and achieving increased resilience, safety and reliability is presented.
Keywords: operations risks, precursors, big data, operational excellence, early risk detection