Health, Safety, Security and Environment

E-Books: Pre-Startup Safety Review Guide

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A pre-startup safety review (PSSR) is carried out to confirm that all appropriate elements of process safety management have been addressed satisfactorily and that the facility is safe to startup.
The objective of this position paper is to define the key attributes that would be rated by Marsh as very good for a PSSR in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry. The attributes demonstrated in this Position Paper can be used to support and define risk improvement recommendations and can also provide detailed advice to clients seeking to improve their management systems.


The startup of new or modified equipment is a particularly vulnerable time for safety incidents and other unplanned events which can cause significant loss, both financial loss and damage to human life and health. A number of elements of good process safety management practice and capital project design include measures to reduce the risk of loss on startup. Such losses include, but are not limited to, incidents involving fire, explosion, environmentally damaging spill or gaseous release, or incidents involving injury to employees or members of the public. Poorly planned or executed startups can result in loss or wastage of materials, and other inefficiencies which can damage profitability.
Good management practices in this context include front-end engineering design (FEED), construction practices, quality assurance, process hazard analysis (PHA), management of change (MoC), and PSSR.

The PSSR provides a final checkpoint to confirm all appropriate elements of process safety management have been addressed satisfactorily and that the facility is safe to startup.

E-Books: Pre-Startup Safety Review Guide ‘s cover

This includes checking that all the action items from other design and construction processes are complete.
Some projects may necessitate a number of PSSRs where different modules of process and utilities are brought into operation at different stages of commissioning.


An organization should develop a written PSSR procedure requiring the following steps:

  • Identification of the need for a PSSR, sometimes referred to as the trigger event, as identified in section 3.2 above.
  • Assignment of a PSSR leader and team as indicated in sections 4.1 and 4.2.
  • The PSSR team meeting to discuss the purpose of the PSSR, and review all the items on the PSSR checklist. This meeting is the core of the PSSR process and leads to:
    • A review of the status of documentation on physical completion, procedures, training, piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), etc., as indicated in the example checklist in the appendices.
    • A visit of the PSSR team to the actual installation to get visual confirmation of readiness for a startup.
    • A visit to the control room to get visual confirmation of the readiness of the control room for the startup of the new parts of the installation.
    • Completion of the PSSR checklist by the team (see section 7).
    • Listing of action items that need correction before or potentially after startup.
  • Team sign-off for one of the following scenarios:
    • The facility is ready to startup, or move to the next phase.
    • The facility may be started up but there are some issues that need to be dealt with after startup. These issues will be listed in the PSSR checklist, with responsibilities.
    • The facility may not be started up until some issues are dealt with. These issues will be listed in the PSSR checklist with responsibilities.
  • A managerial sign-off that the plant is ready to startup, or move to the next phase. The manager may or may not be part of the PSSR team, but the input from the PSSR team will be his/her primary source of advice that the facility is not ready to startup (see appendix A1 for suggested form).
  • Action tracking with regards to issues that need to be dealt with after the PSSR. For organizations with central action tracking systems, this central action tracking system should also be used for the PSSR actions.


The Contents of Pre-Startup Safety Review Guide

  • Objective 3
  • Background 3
  • When to do a pre-startup safety review (PSSR)? 5
  • Who carries out the PSSR? 7
  • What are the steps in a PSSR? 7
  • Stewardship of the PSSR? 8
  • Use of PSSR forms and checklists 8
  • References 8
  • Appendix A 10
  • Example PSSR form 10
  • Example PSSR checklist (long) 10
  • Example PSSR checklist (short) 16
  • Appendix B 18
  • Self-assessment checklist 18

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