Magazine article Occupational Hazards

HSE Program Shows Benefits at ITT

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

HSE Program Shows Benefits at ITT

Article excerpt

In early 1992, multinational ITT Corp. launched a unique effort aimed at reducing the human and environmental impact of its highly diverse operations. "The Process Safety and Pollution Prevention Initiative (PSPPI) combines elements of process safety management with basic pollution prevention principle stressing the importance of operating at the lowest practical safety and environmental risk," explains Dee Woodhull, manager for ITT environment and safety. "Our team-based, continuous-improvement approach focuses on finding better, more cost-effective ways to make products and deliver services without creating hazards or pollution."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.119) Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals first introduced the concept of process hazard analysis to identify, evaluate, and control hazards and risks. It is this type of systematic analysis that enabled PSPPI teams to address compliance issues and find overall process improvements that contribute to bottom-line benefits. Teams also performed cost-benefit analyses of recommended process improvements to demonstrate real cost savings to management

"Process safety management has typically been associated with the chemical industry," Woodhull acknowledged. "But a process is a process, whether you're manufacturing tactical radios for the U.S. Army or laundering hotel linens. The PSPPI has shown that almost any process can be improved using this approach."

Working with consultants from DuPont's Safety and Environmental Management Services, ITT mapped out major goals for the PSPPI:

* To protect people and the environment from adverse impacts of ITT activities.

* To assure cost-effective use of resources in manufacturing processes.

* To identify and eliminate pollution, hazards, and inefficiencies associated with production processes.

* To make the PSPPI self-perpetuating.

"The DuPont consultants understood the team approach ITT wanted to take, and they had the experience we were looking for in the continuous improvement arena," Woodhull noted.

"Team problem-solving approaches have been used successfully at DuPont for many years," noted DuPont process safety consultant John Auger. "However, ITT's effort to combine process safety and pollution prevention is unique. The concep works well in practice because it focuses on results, not long-term, drawn-out programs."

The PSPPI relies heavily on the knowledge and imagination of the employees who are actually involved in the processes, as well as the strong support from site management. The backbone of the initiative is the site team consisting of five or six workers "from the front lines," Woodhull explains. An opening meeting le by a DuPont consultant and site management kicks off five days of intensive efforts by PSPPI team members. During this meeting, the team learns about the process and sets goals and objective for the week's work. Following a tour of the facilities and an analysis of how and why processes work, the remainder of the week is spent brainstorming ways to improve. The team selects the alternative that meet its criteria for feasibility and cost-effectiveness, then obtains support from management in a closing meeting. …

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