U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Published in Process Safety Progress (2009) 28:4 362-366. DOI 10.1002/prs


This article summarizes a process for developing safety performance indicators. This is a topic of great importance for the measurement of the effectiveness of our PSM systems. The PSM is the OSHA regulation that covers companies in the United States that was issued in the year 1992. Since that time companies in the process industries have made great strides in implementing PSM systems. An important question is ‘‘How much progress have we made in actually reducing the number and severity of process events?’’ Other countries were also concerned about the effectiveness of their programs to address chemical accidents. In response to these concerns, the OECD published the documents described in this article.

One of these documents sets out a safety performance indicator process that allows a company to:

• assess whether it is implementing appropriate chemical safety programs and policies,

• evaluate whether these programs and policies are achieving their desired objectives, and

• help determine the extent to which such programs and policies are making a difference.

This will allow a company to identify whether there is appropriate emphasis on different aspects of safety management and provide insights needed for setting priorities for future investment of resources.