Dr Andrew Hopkins

Process safety expert shares his insights

01 Apr 2019

More than 50 people attended CS Energy’s Process Safety Breakfast Briefing by Dr Andrew Hopkins last Friday.

Attendees included representatives from the Queensland Government, Powerlink, Energy Queensland, Siemens, Aurecon, Shell, Seqwater and CS Energy employees.

Process safety is about keeping plant hazards inside the equipment and structures where they belong – keeping the electricity in the wires, steam or gas inside the pipes, and the water behind the dam.

Dr Hopkins, who is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the Australian National University, discussed why process safety accidents keep recurring around the world.

Using examples from the transport, mining, and petroleum and gas industries, he provided a compelling insight into the organisational causes of process safety accidents and tips on how to prevent them from occurring.

“Prior to major accidents there are often warnings signs that are ignored,” Dr Hopkins said. “This is because bad news doesn’t travel upwards easily in organisations.

“You need to find ways to actively encourage the reporting of bad news.”

Dr Hopkins said Shell had put this approach into practice with their “Challenge the green and embrace the red” slogan for company scorecard reporting.

“The voices of people who do hazard and incident reporting in organisations need to be heard more,” he said.

Dr Hopkins also warned companies against indiscriminate cost cutting and encouraged executives and Board members to visit operational sites regularly to increase their awareness of potential hazards.

Andrew Hopkins and Andrew Bills

Above: Dr Andrew Hopkins (left) with CS Energy CEO Andrew Bills.

CS Energy CEO Andrew Bills said the company had increased its focus on process safety in recent years.

“Part of building our process safety understanding is hosting events like today, where we can invite industry experts to share their knowledge with us,” Mr Bills said.

“It’s a privilege to have Dr Hopkins with us to educate us all even further about process safety and how we can prevent these incidents from happening.

“Because if we value human life, our communities, the environment, and the operations of our business, these events simply can’t happen. The consequences of a serious process safety event are just too great.”


More information

Learn more about process safety at CS Energy.