Research has shown that process safety and preventing major accident events requires a recognition that people and their understanding of safety-critical systems are as significant as engineering solutions.

Holding informed discussions on a subject as complex and diverse as process safety can be daunting for management, supervisors and frontline personnel alike.

But to maintain ongoing safe operations, all personnel must truly understand the status of plant. EAll staff must also be able to raise issues around process safety even when the hazard may not be readily visible or the effects may not manifest for many years.

Replicating the success of rules for personal safety

The development and implementation of “Golden Rules” and their associated behaviours has been very successful in reducing fatal accidents in high-risk areas.

The keys to the success of these Golden Rules are:

  • Developing “Golden Rules” only for high-risk activities
    Better to have eight good rules rather than 12 poor rules
  • Organisations consulting widely internally to establish clarity on rules and behaviours
    Clearly define the SHALL and SHALL NOT behaviours for that organisation
  • Unambiguous rules and behaviours
    Avoiding “as appropriate” or “where necessary” or the need for deviations in rules
  • Identifying where “hardware” or current “practice” prevent compliance
    Use the hierarchy of controls to achieve more robust compliance
  • Reviewing wording of behaviours after an initial three-year implementation
    Engagement must be ongoing

Analysing previous incidents identifies the behaviour(s) that prevent harm occurring – for example, wearing fall protection when working at heights or operating plant within design parameters.

Golden rules foster a strong safety culture by clearly defining behaviours, expectations and consequences.

A strong safety culture keeps “Golden Rules” golden.