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By Gregory Hale
The process safety mindset is changing to where users now understand safety can really add benefit to the bottom line.

If a company is truly smart about safety and focuses on what they have to do, remain vigilant and is a top tier organization, they should realize a five percent gain in productivity, said Steve Elliott, director of Triconex product management during his Tuesday talk at the Foxboro & Triconex Global Client Conference ’13 in San Antonio, TX.

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In addition, he said, a company employing a solid safety program could see a three percent reduction in production costs, five percent reduction in maintenance costs, 20 percent reduction in insurance and a one percent reduction in capital budget. Those statistics come from the Center for Chemical Process Safety.

While numbers show what a company could gain, Elliott said accidents are still happening.

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“Process safety incidents are not decreasing at the same rate as occupational safety,” he said. “We are starting to see more visibility of process safety in the market.”

One of the issues, however is not about technology, but who is using it.

“We focus on technology all the time. You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t use is properly, it is not going to help you at all.”

Through advances in technology, users today are getting a flash flood of information and they can end up paralyzed with data overload. That is why the goal now is to “give more contextual information to give more information to the right people at the right time.”

While Triconex is celebrating its 30th year, Elliott said “when you look at the last 30 years, quite a few things all around us have changed, but the core technology of Triconex system still remains.”

Part of that technology allowed for sharing of information to ensure a system stays on track and everyone understands the risk. But understanding that risk starts at the beginning, not when a process is running.

“You need to know and understand the risks when the system is in design mode,” he said. “Use that information to start getting a view of the risks a user has to manage.”

Basis of safety design:
• Continuously safety reliable production
• Fewer personnel to manage and maintain SIS operations
• Extend SIS lifecycle
• Faster SIS startup cycle
• Lower network infrastructure and maintenance
• Low total cost of ownership

You can’t have a discussion about safety without talking about security and Elliott said it is important to secure the hardware for the safety integrated system (SIS) and engineering workstations.

“It is a must harden the engineering workstations and not just the safety systems themselves. The goal is highly secure safety hardware and software.”

The trend right now in safety is to focus on integrated but independent safety system. That is part of the discussion with Invensys’ new launch of Foxboro Evo automation control system, which integrates safety.

While the new system integrates safety, Elliott said Triconex will produce safety systems as standalone systems as they have for years, or they will produce an integrated system.

“Integrated systems goes back to the 1990s,” Elliott said. “Triconex was a node on the Foxboro and Honeywell systems. So, integrated is not really new.”

When it comes to choosing a safety system, Elliott said it is really up to the user. “There is no right and no wrong. We have one customer that uses separate safety system upstream and the same customer uses an integrated system downstream.”

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