University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Process Safety Management Audits for Compliance and Continuous Safety Improvement See upcoming dates

Course Overview

The workshop format of this course will help you conduct high-performance, effective process safety management systems audits.

Upon completion of this course, you will:

  • Understand a range of approaches for conducting PSM compliance audits
  • Assess and allocate required resources to conduct the audits
  • Know how to improve PSM programs continuously, and the reliability and deliverability of “cold” as a result of a compliance audit

Who Should Attend?

  • PSM coordinators
  • Managers responsible for safety
  • Refrigeration personnel (operators, mechanics and supervisory staff)
  • Audit team members
  • Managers concerned with the reliability and dependability of “cold”
  • Others who want to learn more about enhanced refrigeration system safety and reliability

Additional Information

This course is part of the Process Safety Management Professional Certificate. Increase your knowledge and effectiveness at managing PSM/RMP programs for your ammonia refrigerated facility, while earning a recognized credential. Course can be taken individually as well.

Attendees participating in this course will be able to earn a digital badge as evidence of the knowledge they obtained during the course. Digital badges are micro-credentials that can be earned by successfully passing a final quiz administered online after completing the course. Click here for information on digital badges.

Course Outline

Day 1


Overview of Process Safety Management System Audits

  • Audit vs. inspection
  • Process safety audits vs. process safety management system audits
  • PSM audit requirements
  • What are the goals or objectives of an audit?

The Audit Process

  • Scoping and staffing
  • Data collection
  • Reporting
  • Quality assurance
  • Third-party compliance audits—tips and traps

Auditing Techniques 

  • Techniques for audit scoping based on risks, past incidents or past audit results
  • Assessment of PSM management systems
  • Data collection techniques including document reviews, interviews, field inspections, and verification
  • Audit reports Audit Techniques Workshop – Fred Elder and Doug Reindl Working in two groups, attendees will be asked to consider their plant(s) and determine the following:
  • Self-assessment of your current compliance audit approach?
  • What are opportunities to improve your audits? How? For your next audit:
  • How will you scope the audit?
  • What data collection/gathering techniques will you use?
  • In what format will you prepare the audit reports?

Auditing Approaches

The following series of presentations will review key points for each element of the PSM standard. We will emphasize facets of the program elements that have been identified as weaknesses from previous OSHA PSM compliance audits.

  • 1910.119(c): Employee participation
  • 1910.119(d): Process safety information Auditing Approaches (continued) – Fred Elder
  • 1910.119(e): Process hazard analyses
  • 1910.119(f): Operating procedures Assign Homework Review 1910.119, 1910.120(q), and 1910.38a

Day 2

Auditing Approaches (continued)

  • 1910.119(g): Training

Auditing Approaches (continued)

  • 1910.119(h): Contractors
  • 1910.119(i): Pre-startup safety review
  • 1910.119(j): Mechanical integrity
  • 1910.119(k): Hot work

Overview of PSM Auditing Tools and Resources

Auditing Approaches (continued)

  • 1910.119(l): Management of change
  • 1910.119(m): Incident investigation
  • 1910.119(n): Emergency planning and response


  • Purpose of interviewing
  • Approaches for conducting effective interviews
  • How to identify staff to interview
  • Interviewing tips and traps

Day 3

Interview Scoping Workshop

Course participants will prepare interview forms to conduct interviews with a mock plant staff during this program segment.

Conducting Interviews

Course participants will conduct mock interviews. During the interviews, participants will observe and critique the interviewer based on their interaction with plant staff being interviewed. The exercise will focus on developing good interview habits and techniques. The exercise will also involve conducting

  • mock PSM
  • MP Audit Opening Meetings and PSM
  • MP Audit Closing Meetings


"I learned a vast amount from this course. I would come back before our next audit."
—Steven Hall, Newport Cold Storage

"Instructors' knowledge and experience make the course very useful."
—Tom Boman, Amy's Kitchen, Inc.

"Thank you for making auditing fun and lively."
—Marie Joachim, General Mills Inc.

"I am leaving with a better understanding of PSM and how audits are conducted.  I am also leaving with more knowledge of how to better prepare for an audit."
—Taylor Burtt, McCain Foods


Frederick Elder

Dr. Elder has extensive experience in safety including Process Safety Management and its application to ammonia refrigeration systems. He regularly serves as an instructor for the OSHA Training Institute. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree from Wichita State University, and a Ph.D from UW-Madison, all in Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Elder is a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

Douglas Reindl

Douglas Reindl, PhD, PE is a professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Program Director at the Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has extensive experience in mechanical systems – including industrial ammonia refrigeration systems. As the founding director of the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium, he works extensively to improve the safety, efficiency, reliability, and productivity of ammonia refrigeration infrastructure. Dr. Reindl received his BS in mechanical engineering technology from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, MS in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison, and PhD in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

Upcoming dates (1)