The United Kingdom’s Chemical Business Association (CBA) recently signed a commitment on behalf of its member companies to the Principles of Safety Leadership, according to a press release.

The CBA's commitment extends to all its member companies operating COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) sites and to other facilities where significant off-site risk from an incident exists.

The initiative stems from major chemical incidents such as BP Texas City, Esso Longford and Buncefield which highlighted serious weaknesses in the way these plants were operated. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has made the process safety of major hazard plants a priority. Its process safety initiative aims to reinforce the need for operators to adopt procedures and monitoring systems which maximize the safety of their plants.

"CBA's commitment to safety leadership has been specifically developed with smaller and medium-sized businesses in mind but, in all other respects, it is complementary to the agreement signed by the other Process Safety Leadership Group members on behalf of the manufacturing sector," said CBA's Chairman, Francis Osborn.

CBA's commitment recognizes the fact that smaller businesses have limited technical and managerial resources and that their participation in the Safety Leadership initiative may “vary in nature and time in different membership organizations.”

Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE, said "Leadership is fundamental to good safety management in any organization, as our recent strategy makes clear. In an industry that is by its very nature high hazard, the need for the very highest level of leadership is non-negotiable. We all — regulators, employers, trade unions, representative bodies — have a deep and abiding interest in making sure that adequate controls of major hazards are in place. The agreement makes it clear that the responsibility for controlling the risk of major incidents lies with those running the major hazard companies. We will now be looking for clear evidence that not only have companies signed up to these principles but they are being acted upon and board members are taking their leadership role seriously."

For the CBA, its Chairman, Francis Osborn said, "CBA is pleased to support the very worthwhile Safety Leadership campaign and to sign a commitment to introduce its principles to our member companies. It is important that we continue to develop the framework through which — as an industry sector — we strive to deliver year-on-year improvements in safety performance."