The development of the industry training standards for process safety in 2011 provided the opportunity for the Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board and Cogent Skills to develop a suite of courses that allowed the Process Safety Management standards to be rolled out in High Hazard companies through a top down approach; starting at boardroom level and all the way through to operators.

Richard Roff, Chair of the Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board said the vision of the PSM Competence 

Programme Board is that people understand what might happen, understand their part in preventing catastrophic incidents through education, competence and knowledge. The underlying principles of process safety can be applied to the management of hazards and risks in many sectors, and in companies of all sizes. Businesses need to understand that a catastrophic event is possible, to understand what preventative processes they have in place and whether those measures are working.

Process Safety Leadership for Senior Executives course based on the standards was launched in 2011, followed by Process Safety 

Management Foundations in 2012 for operational managers and supervisors, and Process Safety Management for Operations in 2013 for front line operators and maintenance personnel. The purpose of these standards is to provide a clear knowledge and understanding of the principles of process safety management across an organisation, and help organisations to develop and maintain a strong process 

safety culture.

Leadership is becoming increasingly important within industry, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are keen to improve this in 2019. They want to see commitment to the delivery of training and coaching for board members and managers in process safety. The HSE state that it is essential that the momentum on improving competence in process safety management and leadership is maintained throughout the sector in order to ensure those involved in managing major hazard risks gain and maintain the knowledge and skills essential to avoid a major accident. They have recognised that the adoption of this standards-based approach can help companies achieve and demonstrate effective process safety management.

Over 11,500 delegates have now taken part in the Process Safety Management Competence Programme

A milestone like this demonstrates the importance of senior leaders recognising their influence on the safe operation of hazardous processes worldwide. Demonstrating leadership, involving the workforce and building competence contributes substantially to the development and the rigorous management of a workplace health and safety and process safety culture. This training programme has been delivered worldwide and continues to progress within major hazard industries.

Tony Johnson, Production Support Manager, Huntsman Polyurethanes (UK) said before starting the PSM training, the companies focus was on the shift from personal safety to process safety. Following the training, we have improved our process safety culture and performance through enhancing personal safety with process safety. Cogent played a central role throughout, and the fact the 

programme is developed by peer companies is very valuable. The participants noted it was the most relevant training they had ever been on.

It is easy to see the improvements in an organisations understanding of Process Safety that start with the PSM training delivered in the boardroom and rolled out enterprise-wide. Reported benefits include increased near miss reporting, reductions in minor incidents of loss of containment, reductions in working days lost due to workplace injury and improved process safety communication.

The emphasis on improving process safety culture also sets the suite of process safety courses apart from more traditional courses that deliver a heavier technical focus, and the training course suite is the only one to be underpinned by Training Standards approved by the UK’s Process Safety Management Competence Programme Board.

Now a barometer of competence in the major hazard industries, and described by the HSE as “best in class”, the Competent Authority will look favourably on organisations during routine inspections, if employers can evidence such training taking place. 

Neil Smith, Head of Workforce Development at Cogent Skills says, It has been great to see participating employers reporting that their number of small-scale incidents has halved and this is particularly significant given the pattern that has emerged historically of all small incidents being the precursors to more serious incidents. Previously industry training tended to focus on the technical aspects of a job and not set these in the context of process safety. Now there is a much greater understanding of the efficacy of process safety, of what processes should be in place and why.

If you would like to talk more about your training requirements in 2019, contact Cogent Skills on 01325 740900 or email