The process industries have a history littered with the consequences of not managing change carefully and safely. Despite these lessons and a great deal of good practice, globally we continue
The process industries have a history littered with the consequences of not managing change carefully and safely. Despite these lessons and a great deal of good practice, globally we continue to struggle to get it right. As time passes, our memories of the human tragedies linked to Flixborough (a temporary change) and Hickson & Welch (a series of non-assessed changes) fade and fall out of our common experience. However, we still need to learn the lessons – properly – and ensure that they are embedded in our industries’ everyday practice.
So, what is it that makes a good system for change management? At heart it is a combination of a robust assessment, especially risk assessment, and appropriate management, ensuring any change has the correct authorisation. That’s a start but not sufficient to answer to the question “What does a good Management of Change (MoC) system really look like?” The rest of this paper attempts to answer that question, especially from the viewpoint of someone auditing an MoC system. Both authors are experienced process safety and occupational health & safety auditors, having worked on sites from the Americas to the Far East. We do not claim in any way that what follows is the only or the right answer, but it does draw on our experience both of systems that are working well and those that were clearly failing.