Note 13: Process safety

Process safety management

AkzoNobel’s process safety management (PSM) framework is an integral part of our overall safety strategy. In addition to helping manufacturing sites meet their legal requirements, our PSM framework is an essential first step to operational excellence.

The framework provides a structured way to assess and manage risks to eliminate injuries and incidents related to hazardous substances and processes. Implementation of the framework is phased. Sites are divided into three categories, based on their residual risk, taking into account their inherent safety hazards and current levels of process safety performance. Phase A sites are the most safety critical sites, based on their residual risk.

Process Safety Management program

Social value creation – Process Safety Management program (graphic)
  • In 2016, Phase A sites completed implementation of their improvement plans according to schedule
  • In order to ensure sustainable PSM framework implementation and embedding of the PSM framework requirements, a PSM assessment tool and independent validation process has been developed which will be used with the Phase A sites during 2017
  • Phase B and C are on target to implement PSM following planning
  • Phase D has been introduced to cover any remaining sites, new acquisitions and research, development and innovation locations with pilot plants
  • A PSM capability benchmarking study was completed. Our approach is broadly in line with that of other organizations. We will continue to develop PSM capability of both the wider PSM organization and the key PSM roles
  • The organizational structure and competency assurance process for hazard studies were established. This is the foundation for PSM excellence and risk mitigation
  • The program to globally standardize the Management of Change system started, with completion due in 2017

Process safety performance

During 2016, PSM leading and lagging indicators were defined and implemented. These KPIs have replaced the old composite PSM KPI and are aligned with international best practice to enable effective measurement and monitoring of continuous improvement in PSM. A process safety event (PSE) is a (LoPC) or unsafe release, or an undesired event or condition that – under slightly different circumstances – could have resulted in a LoPC of a material (lagging indicators) or deteriorated controls and disciplines that eventually could lead to a loss of primary containment (leading indicators). LoPC is the main process safety indicator at manufacturing sites.

  • The number of losses of primary containment classified as Level 1 (highest severity) in 2016 was 16
  • The number of process safety events Level 3 (very minor spills and leaks, which are readily controlled on site and have no regulatory notification requirement) being reported has increased by almost 100 percent to 3,422 illustrating the desire to report, investigate and learn from these process safety near misses and giving an increased opportunity for learning and prevention

Process safety pyramid

Social value creation – Process safety pyramid (graphic)
Process safety events



Loss of primary containment Level 1


Loss of primary containment Level 2


Process safety event Level 3


Loss of primary containment

A loss of primary containment is an unplanned release of material, product, raw material or energy to the environment (including those resulting from human error). Loss of primary containment incidents are divided into three categories, dependent on severity, from small, on-site spill/near misses up to Level 1 – a significant escape.