A Leader’s Tactical Approach to Influence Changes in Process Safety Culture

by Laura Ankrom, P.E., Greg Oliver, CSP, & Kathy Shell, P.E.

Following the Texas City disaster and the subsequent publishing of “Failure to Learn” by Andrew Hopkins, many companies were awakened to the idea that their top leaders play a much more defining role in the success of their organization’s integrated process safety program; process safety culture is driven by leadership. Once an organization recognizes that a process safety culture change is needed, the question then becomes, how do we engage top level leadership so that they influence culture? And, what tactical activities and behaviors can leaders promote and participate in that will have a notable outcome? The authors’ intent is to reach those in leadership roles who are on their journey to achieve process safety excellence and provide ideas and actions that they can take to move from “supporting” process safety to “leading” process safety. Leadership must execute strategic tactics to maintain and continuously improve one’s process safety performance to achieve a Best in Class Process Safety Culture. Leaders have the ability to influence overall safety and organizational culture through their actions and expressed priorities. Key topics covered by the author will include visible leadership, effective communications, risk based decision making, self-assessments, lesson learning, key performance indicators and active monitoring and feedback.

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