PART FOUR: Additional, final thoughts about this experience…
What I have tried to illustrate with the Badak LNG case discussed in Parts 1, 2, and 3 earlier is the importance of a taking a (management) systems perspective to a larger sustainability problem / scenario; to illustrate how internal company issues, however trivial they may seem to some, can have profound, external ramification if they aren’t brought to the surface and considered formally through proper identification, evaluation, control, and monitoring processes. The Badak scenario (inadequate internal communication and promotion with respect to process safety aspects) has played itself out before in other organizations whose operations are process-related, but where management / leadership did not properly understand the importance of process-related issues with respect to health, safety, environment (‘HSE’), and the potential wider consequences to other sustainability issues, both internal and external (such as Badak’s vital Community Development program for the surrounding society).
The Badak scenario – an organization which largely based their HSE management system on ‘traditional’ occupational safety issues and aspects, at the expense of prioritizing process safety issues and aspects via many management system activities, including process safety communication, is one all too common in the process industry. This can have the effect of establishing the wrong culture, the wrong safety focus, and can lead to major or catastrophic events.
This has been seen in two relatively recent events – the BP Texas City refinery accident and the BP Macondo / Gulf of Mexico rig blowout accident. Both of these events, if one reads the official investigation reports by the relevant US Government commissions, identify various basic causes / findings related to inadequate management / leadership attention to process safety from various aspects, such as measurement of process safety, conducting leadership inspections for process safety, and communications with respect to process safety, etc. All of these contributors can be lessons learned for other organizations to be aware of and to apply to see if their management systems also have such deficiencies. Acting upon such deficiencies before a major event occurs is an excellent investment, will be far less costly than the potential event itself, and help ensure the sustainability of the business from numerous aspects and points of view, i.e., survivability of the LNG processing plant itself, people’s lives, ensuring the continuity of the community development program, etc.
Thus, this background became part of the basis for our original DNV GL audit / assessment report recommendation to Badak LNG to enhance their Process Safety (Management) communications by suggesting that their communication and promotion activity also include focused communication promotions and themes for a ‘Year of PSM.’