ABCs of Emergency Shutdown Sytems (ESDs)

When it comes to company personnel, equipment and the environment, maximum safety cannot be overemphasized. Plant Operators and insurance companies place high importance on safety and require companies to perform process hazard analysis to determine the measures necessary for maximum safety. One way of ensuring maximum safety in your plant or industry is through the use of an Emergency Shutdown System (ESD).

The ANSI/ISA-91.00.01-2001 (Identification of Emergency Shutdown Systems and Controls That Are Critical to Maintaining Safety in Process Industries) defines it as, “Instrumentation and controls installed for the purpose of taking the process, or specific equipment in the process, to a safe state”. Emergency shutdowns or ESDs are widely used across different industries to offer protection for your personnel, asset and the environment.

ABCs of ESDsESDs minimizes the consequences of an onsite emergency. It establishes and identifies critical signals which are then controlled to put the entire facility to a safe stop. It also involves a series of pre-programmed functions that would bring the facility back to full operation once the cause of the situation has been determined and solved.

Having a fit for purpose ESD is a core requirement in most plants and processes today. In this edition of Automation gene, we provide three (ABC) basic checklists on selection and deployment of ESDs. We hope that these ABCs come handy on your next project.

Apply global safety standards: safety_standardsFirst, you need to know the standards and regulations for your locality with regards to emergency shutdown and integrated safety systems as a whole. Some international standards that can guide us, especially for automation engineers are ISA S84.01 and IEC 61508. These standards however, are performance oriented and not prescriptive, the standards essentially states what needs to be done, not specifically how to do it.

Begin with Integrated Safety: integrated_safetySince most ESDs are built for purpose, enaging your local technical safety systems vendor early on the project helps reduce risk and improves collaboration throughout the project. Such local vendor that clearly understands your process requirements and have certifications or knowledge of what is required or expected should come handy right from your project planning phase. From our experience working with customers, having an experienced consultant or systems integrator handy is also cost effective.

Count your cost:  count_costThink of the cost your plant would incur if your operations are shut down due to wrong or inadequate ESD. From experience working with our customers, we realized that plants work better when all stakeholders insist on proper HAZOP analysis, Cause and Effect Analysis, Loss Prevention studies, SIL classification etc. For existing plants, instill on having your ESDs tested as part of safety drills etc. More importantly, please ensure that feedback reports are reviewed with all stake holders, including your operations readiness team prior to final implementation.

Finding the right partner that can help mitigate process risks through engineered safety solutions can be quite a challenging task; at GIL Automations, we partner with our customers to understand their specific needs and applications, and develop optimal safety solutions for their unique operating environments.

We have based our approach to ensuring a high level of functional safety on the IEC 61508 and ISA S84.1 standards. Our programs have resulted in an integrated system for the provision of products, assessing their functional safety, improving robustness and ensuring high performance.

We take extra efforts in ensuring that we are your best partner in providing systems that work!

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