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Safety Results Mirror Expectations
at Westlake Petrochemicals
New Grassroots Ethylene Plant
Curtis R. Keller
Unit Manager, Westlake Petrochemicals
Sr. Process Engineer, Westlake Petrochemicals
Stephen J. Wallace
Safety Superintendent / Process Safety Manager, Westlake Petrochemicals
American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Conference
March 16, 1999
Results often mirror expectations. The expectations for safety performance have evolved significantly over the past three decades. Several factors have contributed to this trend including improved process design, government regulations focusing on process safety, and increased liability related to major incidents in industry.
Safety performance has also reflected this change in expectation. For example, during the 1970's safety performance was measured by loss of life (fatalities). During the 1980's, it was measured by loss of days worked, and presently it is measured by recordable injuries. The process is still evolving with industry reviewing near miss and behavior practices in advance of recordable injuries.
The Westlake management philosophy instills a safe job performance to all organization levels. It is not enough to just blindly follow safety rules. The reasons behind the rule must be understood and questions should be ask to fully understand the work to be done and to quantify the risk involved.
At the Westlake's new grassroots ethylene plant, the safety expectations were high. Westlake had yet to have a lost time accident associated with the construction, commissioning, and start up of the first Ethylene Plant and an Ethyl benzene - Styrene plant. The results of the second Ethylene Plant were equally impressive.