API 754

API 754: Process Safety Performance Indicators Audit

Goal-based (Performance-based) regulations specify the desired outcome required, but leave the method of achieving this to the duty holder. Goals or targets to be met in such regulations are often qualified by “reasonable practicability” and thus demand, from both the regulator and duty holders, some matching of response-to-risk and cost-to-benefit. The best way to properly evaluate your performance based safety program is through a Process Safety Performance Indicators Audit.

The purpose of the API RP 754 Audit is to identify leading and lagging Process Safety Indicators useful for driving performance improvement. Process Safety Indicators drive process safety performance and learning.

As demonstrated by historical investigations into catastrophic events in high risk industrial settings; process safety incidents are rarely caused by a single failure, but rather by multiple events or failures that coincide as depicted in the figure below.


  • Hazards are contained by multiple protective barriers
  • Barriers may have weaknesses or “holes”
  • When holes align, the hazard passes through the barriers, resulting in the potential incident
  • Barriers may be physically engineered containment or behavioral controls dependent upon people
  • Holes can be latent, incipient or actively opened by people

Often times the Process Safety Indicators that led up to these catastrophic events were not properly tracked and measured. Management typically measures the the adequacy and effectiveness of their environmental, health and safety programs by the number of slips, trips and falls that have occurred. Most often, Process Safety Indicators are minor near-misses that do not result in an injury, loss of containment or operational upset. Over the years, the normalizing of these risks result in process safety indicators being confused with normal operation.

Indicators that are predictive are considered leading indicators and may be used to identify a weakness that can be corrected before a higher consequence event occurs. The end result is to prevent an event that could result in a Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC). Risk Management Professionals assists out clients with flushing out these leading and lagging indicators by performing the API RP 754 Audit.