June 5, 2023
9:45AM - 10:45AM
Benefits of Planning for Black Swan Events for Process Safety and Crisis Management
Tim Groman, Sr. Principal Engineer, AcuTech Group, Inc.
Companies should include consideration of very low probability and high consequence events (“Black Swan Events”) when assessing risk and planning for residual risk management to improve readiness and performance of the process safety management system. These events could include compound incidents, highly disruptive and sudden events, cascading events, domino effects, or larger releases than considered in the typical process hazards analysis studies. Often, they are discounted as not credible. Are they really such rare events that they should have been dismissed? Are the assumptions used to reach those conclusions valid? Are there benefits to be gained by considering this unique perspective? Have there been technological advances that can help assess these risks? Such events, usually considered extreme outliers, collectively play vastly larger roles than more common occurrences due to the potential for more severe consequences than was considered in the design, operation, risk management, and emergency response plans. The largest losses that drive the industry’s quest for improved process safety management are often based on events of this magnitude. Considering these events may lead to knowledge of gaps that support that a larger event was, in fact, credible, and should have been included in the scope of the design basis and not simply in the purview of crisis management.