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James Birch
Wayne Repich

published on

April 17, 2024

Safety, or Safety Critical?
The identification and management of Safety Critical Elements (SCE) and Safety Critical Systems (SCS)

1pm EGY / 6am CST / 12pm UK

Trevor Kletz, “The Father of Process Safety”, famously said “If you think safety is expensive, try having an accident. Accidents cost a lot of money”. Following this wisdom, we employ large amounts of resource to implement and maintain safety features in our plants and management systems. However, which of these truly qualify as “safety critical” ? Within Process Safety Management, the definition of “safety critical” is used for barriers which play a major and direct role in protecting against, or mitigating major accident hazard (MAH) events.

Given that accidents frequently result from a number of adverse events which align to allow the incident to happen, a key principle of Process Safety Management is the use of “multiple, diverse layers of protection” to protect against MAH events. These layers of protection act as barriers to prevent, or mitigate, the effects of such an event. These barriers may be physical items (elements) such as pressure relief valves and fire detection equipment, or procedural (systems), such as mechanical integrity or management of change.

Safety Critical Elements (SCE) and Safety Critical Systems (SCS) act as key protective barriers against MAH events. Making the right choices when identifying them is important – if non-critical elements are identified as safety critical, then the costs and maintenance burden will be too high. However, if the reverse occurs, then lives, businesses and the environment will be exposed to an unacceptable level of risk.

This webinar will explain the process for identifying SCEs and SCSs and clarify the differences between “active” and “passive” systems, before moving onto how to produce effective Performance Standards (which detail what the SCE must provide, and achieve). We will then look at the processes required to maintain their effectiveness, study how to carry out the necessary operational risk assessments required if a SCE becomes impaired, and also the key performance indicators (KPIs) that should be tracked to ensure effective Process Safety Management can take place.

This webinar will be valuable for anyone involved in, or responsible for the design, operation, maintenance, inspection, testing or assurance of Safety Critical Elements and Safety Critical Systems used in high-hazard, process safety operations.

What will be covered:

  • The importance of SCEs and SCSs as protective barriers to prevent major accident hazard (MAH) events.
  • How to identify SCEs, and understanding their different types and roles.
  • Performance Standards for SCEs – defining what they must be achieved.
  • Maintaining SCEs, and how to risk assess the impacts of their impairment.



Wayne Repich, Assoc. DBIA
Global Director, Business Development and Marketing/Communications
Key Account Program Director

James Birch Headshot

James Birch, MEng, PgDip, CEng, MIChemE
Senior Consultant, BakerRisk Europe Limited

Meeting starts in :

Safety, or Safety Critical ? – The identification and management of Safety Critical Elements (SCE) and Safety Critical Systems (SCS)

Safety, or Safety Critical ? – The identification and management of Safety Critical Elements (SCE) and Safety Critical Systems (SCS)

Session date: April 17, 2024 @ 6:00 am
Duration: 2 hours 0 minutes
Timezone: America/Chicago

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