ABS Consulting

Are your MI and reliablility programs competing for resources?

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Courtesy of ABS Consulting

A number of refineries and chemical processing facilities have not yet realized the potential synergy between regulatory-
driven mechanical integrity (MI) programs and facility-wide reliability programs. The tendency at many facilities is to keep these two initiatives separate, which typically results in a competition for precious maintenance and inspection resources as well as management attention and budgets. This is not necessary and is potentially wasteful. An integrated, holistic approach to a facility’s MI and reliability programs can capture the natural synergy between these two efforts.
A major incentive for U.S. chemical process industries to implement MI programs has been OSHA’s process safety
management (PSM) regulation (29 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1910.119). This was followed by EPA’s risk management program rule (40 CFR 68). These regulations have been in place since 1992 and 1996, respectively. The implementation of MI programs required by these two regulations has proved a challenge to many facilities. This is evident by the fact that the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) commissioned the development of a recently released new text entitled “Guidelines for Mechanical Integrity Systems” some 14 years after the regulation was promulgated. Why is MI so challenging? Relative to other process safety element programs, the MI effort is gigantic. Some facilities simply struggle to identify all of the equipment (in hazardous service) that must be functional and reliable
enough to prevent catastrophic events. An effective MI program requires much more. Equipment can fail for multiple
reasons, and the effective MI program as well as the reliability program, must understand the impacts of failure, the
applicable failure mechanisms, and the appropriate MI tasks to prevent, detect and/or mitigate the failures.

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