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Note 6: Process safety

We use “loss of primary containment” as our main indicator of asset/integrity/process safety performance at our manufacturing sites.

Loss of containment incidents are divided into four categories depending on severity, from small on-site spill (Level A) to a significant escape (Level D).

Comparing 2010 and 2011, we see an increase in reporting loss of primary containment. This is a comparatively new reporting requirement, so the figures indicate more awareness and management attention at our sites for process safety issues.

  • There were two loss of containment incidents (Level D) during 2011 (2010: 0). At our site in Stenungsund, Sweden, ethylene oxide was lost to sea during a maintenance operation in May. An in-depth investigation was carried out and results shared with the authorities, while preventive and corrective actions were taken by site management. Environmental monitoring indicated that damage to the marine environment was limited. In December, a second incident took place at the same site when a smaller quantity of ethylene oxide was spilled. This led to a thorough review to confirm that recommendations from the first incident investigation had been followed through
  • We use the HSE audits, the annual self-assessments and the defined performance criteria to monitor progress and identify sites that need help. A number of units (sites in focus) will receive special support
  • Our process safety/asset integrity standards were supplemented with guidance notes/best practices during 2011
  • Process safety awareness training sessions, for site managers and new process safety professionals, were developed and executed in 2011

Following a major incident at a Dutch chemical company, the national authorities have intensified their safety inspections at production sites that fall under the so-called post-Seveso regime (called BRZO – “major hazard control” – in the Netherlands). We have introduced an HSE Country Manager for the Netherlands who will coordinate the company-wide approach to ensure full compliance with the BRZO rules and regulations. The concept of coordinating HSE issues at country level will be used as a repeatable model for other countries.

Loss of containment incidents

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