Kathy Shell


Kathy has over 35 years of experience in the areas of business and project management, process safety and risk management, process and detailed design, installation and commissioning. She specializes in the strategic development, rollout, implementation, training and auditing of global and site level process safety and risk management systems. A senior member of AIChE, Kathy is Chair of the 2018 Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS). In the past she has held leadership positions at the Global Congress, including chairing and co-chairing the Process Plant Safety Symposium (PPSS) and serving as PPSS Session Chair and Co-Chair. She is a member of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) Technical Steering Committee and the Health and Safety Division. In addition, Kathy is a current member of the steering team and past member of the technical advisory committee for the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center at Texas A&M University. Kathy is a licensed Professional Engineer and has a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio. She enjoys bicycling, hiking and going to classic rock concerts whenever possible.

Posts by Kathy Shell:

June 5, 2019

Test the Integrity of your Process Safety Program with a Drill Down Audit

A hazard scenario-based, drill-down audit can uncover systematic issues brewing beneath the surface not often uncovered from a traditional compliance audit. This methodology exposes the pain points and, most importantly, the sources of those points by digging deep into the management system processes around Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)/Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA), Process Safety Information […]

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White Papers by Kathy Shell:

Beyond Compliance Auditing: Drill ‘til you find the pain points and release the pressure!

The authors of this paper look beyond traditional OSHA PSM and USEPA RMP regulatory compliance auditing to explore the value of drilling down around the process safety lifecycle; locating the pain points; and releasing the pressure on the system. Compliance auditing has historically provided a “check-the-box” approach to meet regulatory requirements imposed by OSHA and USEPA. Regulatory compliance, however, is no guarantee of the prevention of major accidents. There is still a need to identify hazards, understand and manage risks. Today’s auditors need to determine how to systematically identify the root cause of the “pain points” that will foster conversations around releasing the “pressure” on existing practices to achieve a vibrant integrated process safety management system.

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Functional Safety Organization for Predictably Executing the ANSI/ISA 84 Safety Lifecycle

Many companies are in the process of validating or updating their asset integrity management program for safety instrumented systems with the intent of achieving the performance standards in ISA 84.00.01, Functional Safety:  Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry. It is a challenge to determine the best organizational structure, the relevant roles and responsibilities, and the training or skills of individuals in key positions to execute the Safety Lifecycle workflow.

Some companies are setting up groups within their engineering organizations; others are expanding their reliability or maintenance departments. Still others are assigning the leadership roles in the process safety departments. In truth, execution of the Safety Lifecycle, as with the Process Safety Standard 29 CFR 1910.119, requires an integrated work flow across multiple disciplines and areas of practice.

The author will outline the organizational characteristics of a strong Functional Safety Program and the roles to be filled to predictably execute the full Safety Lifecycle and achieve the related risk management objectives. These roles will be outlined in terms of responsibilities, technical and business acumen and training, and interpersonal skills relevant to success.

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