Effectively Manage Mechanical Integrity in Process Safety Enterprise®

Asset Integrity Management (AIM) or Mechanical Integrity is crucial to the Process Safety Management (PSM) 29 CFR 1910.119 standard. Many companies find AIM difficult to manage since it encompasses the policies, procedures, and workflows to develop and execute Inspection, Testing, and Preventative Maintenance (ITPM) of all PSM equipment and track ITPM deficiences. Tracking recurring ITPM and the resolution of deficiencies can be difficult without an established workflow and document management system. Losing track of these tasks can jeopardize the safety of employees, the plant assets, the community, and the environment and interrupt business continuity.

An effective AIM program should include capturing the design parameters and specifications of PSM equipment and the Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (RAGAGEP) used to design the equipment and choose the materials of construction. The manufacturers' operating manual can also be used to identify the required ITPM for equipment bought off-the-shelf (pre-engineered equipment). A document management system is needed to gather, use, and maintain this important information.

The AIM system should also document the required ITPM and frequencies for the equipment within and in support of the PSM process using the established RAGAGEP and/or manufacturers' recommendations. A workflow works best to document and anticipate the upcoming ITPM, especially for extended shutdowns that require extensive pre-planning. The workflow should specify whether the ITPM can be done with the plant fully functioning, the plant shutdown and energized or de-energized, or the specific equipment de-energized or energized but idle. These distinctions are very important for planning purposes.

The ITPM workflow should also assign the ITPM to qualified internal employees or contractors with the expected start and end dates. Depending upon site procedures, the managers should seek relevant management approvals from Maintenance, Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS), Operations, or others.

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