Better leadership needed to avert Buncefield-style disasters, warns ABB
10 Jul 2017
Better leadership is needed in the process industries to avoid repetition of accidents on the scale of the Buncefield disaster, warns ABB engineering and consultancy group in a new white paper.
The report cautions against a so-called ‘watermelon’ effect whereby safety metrics appear under control, or ‘green’, but overlook underlying signs of ‘red’ that suggest procedures may be less effective than supposed.
Graeme Ellis, principal lead consultant with ABB Consulting and co-author of the white paper said: “Major accidents at Texas City and Buncefield in 2005 marked a watershed for the global process industry and led to general agreement that senior leadership is vital in developing an effective process safety culture.
“Fast forward over a decade however and evidence suggests that large losses are still happening at a consistently high rate across the global process industry.”
Large losses are still happening at a consistently high rate across the global process industry
Graeme Ellis, principle lead consultant, ABB Consulting
ABB asked representatives what they saw as the greatest challenge to maintain progress in process safety and vigilance towards preventing major accidents.
Leadership, followed by competence, topped the list. Ellis added: “It’s concerning that over a decade [since] clear lessons were learned around safety not being the sole responsibility of the technical safety department, leadership is still believed to be the biggest issue presenting the greatest challenge to process safety progress.”