The objective of a process safety management system (PSMS) is to ensure potential hazards are identified and that mitigation measures put in place to prevent the unwanted release of energy or materials into locations that could expose employees to serious harm.

An effective PSMS requires a systematic, comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices to evaluate the whole chemical process. Process design, process technology, process changes, operational and maintenance procedures, non-routine activities and procedures, emergency preparedness plans and procedures, training programs, and other elements that affect the process are all considered.

A PSMS focuses on process safety, while an SMS includes all aspects of safety including occupational safety.

The SMS or PSMS framework describes the different elements implemented to ensure safety at a facility. Each element incorporates the underlying principles and expectations to be met across all areas of the business or operation.

The total system for managing safety typically comprises three distinct levels of application and implementation.

  1. Level one (SMS/ PSMS framework) provides an overview of how the PSMS is structured and implemented as well as the achievement standards and expectations by which the company behaviour and standards are driven.
  2. Level two documents provide guidance to translate those standards and expectations into practical application at the work fronts.
  3. Level three are the specific procedures, plans, checklists, and forms for use in each operational area.

The elements of an SMS or PSMS are typically customised for a particular company, however, these are often influenced by national guidance/ legislation or international standards such as ISO, Energy Institute, or CCPS. Common elements would include hazard identification and risk assessment management, management of change, emergency preparedness, incident investigation, monitoring, and auditing, etc.

Safety Solutions has developed the level 1 PSMS/ SMS framework documents as detailed in section 3 and has prepared level 2 procedures such as emergency preparedness, hazard and risk procedures, incident investigation, management of change processes.

Our experience is as follows:

Level 1: SMS/ PSMS Experience

SSL has the following experience as part of developing or improving a site’s SMS.

Where an organisation has not had effective process safety coverage within their SMS (or no SMS has been in place), we have worked with the following companies to get their SMS ready to support their safety case.


Audit Type

Ballance Agri-Nutrients

Process Safety Audit


SMS Audit


MHF SMS review

Evonik Industries

Process Safety Audit

Fonterra Ltd

SMS Audit for global operations

Genesis Energy

MoC, Hazard ID audit

Greymouth Petroleum

Process Safety Audit


Process Safety Audit

ICON Water

Process Safety Audit


Process Safety Audit

Lochard Energy

Process Safety Element Audits

Meridian Energy (Hydro)

Process Safety Audit

Ngati Tuwharetoa Holdings

Various system gap analysis, SMS review

NZ Chemical Care and Storage

SMS Review

Port Taranaki

Process Safety Audit


SMS Development

Tasman Fuels

SMS Audit

Todd Energy

Process Safety Audit

Top Energy

SMS Audit, Process Safety Audit

Vector Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant

Process Safety Audit

Waste Management

Process Safety Audit

Level 2: SMS Procedure Development Experience:

  • Hazard ID and Risk Assessment (eg HAZOP and LOPA)
  • Management of change (plant, software etc)
  • Emergency response
  • Incident investigation
  • Permit to work systems
  • Safety-critical elements
  • Alarm management
  • Safety Instrumented System (SIS) management procedures
  • Plant design procedures
  • Measurement and performance monitoring
  • SCE verification plan

References are available on request.

Safety Management System