The American Petroleum Institute (API) has published the 3rd Edition of Recommended Practice (RP) 754 – Process Safety Performance Indicators for the Refining and Petrochemical Industries, an American National Standard, to assist in assessing and mitigating risk to improve safety performance.

RP 754 was designed to identify leading and lagging process safety indicators useful for driving operational safety and system sustainability improvements at downstream facilities. Leading indicators are used to predict future safety risks, while lagging indicators are used to learn from past process safety events.

The standard helps facilities implement a comprehensive program to identify, mitigate and reduce safety hazards and risks through a system of continuous assessment and improvement, identifying trends and underlying causes and taking action to proactively manage process safety.  Utilization of data collected and analyzed under API RP 754 informs future good practice development and information sharing across the industry.

Performance indicators identified in this RP are based on the following guiding principles:

  • Indicators should drive process safety performance improvement and learning.
  • Indicators should be relatively easy to implement and clearly understood by all stakeholders, including workers and the public.
  • Indicators should be statistically valid at one or more of the following levels: industry, company and facility. This requires a consistent definition, a minimum data set size, a normalization factor and a relatively consistent reporting pool.
  • Indicators should be appropriate for industry, company or facility level benchmarking.

This new edition contains a number of key changes including:

  • Making mandatory the previously optional Process Safety Event Severity Weighting.
  • Adding the identification of a secondary layer of causality under each primary cause, which in turn expands the usefulness and actionability of causal data collected.
  • Expanding the data collection capability to include non-petroleum based chemical facilities.
  • Change in the classification of corrosion materials release amounts to better align these values with other types of material releases.
  • Clarifying the definitions within the standard, including primary and secondary containment, direct cost, indoor release and unsafe location.

The 3rd Edition of RP 754 classifies process safety indicators into four tiers of leading and lagging indicators. Tiers 1 and 2 are suitable for global public reporting and Tiers 3 and 4 are intended for internal use at individual facilities to drive process safety performance.

RP 754 is not mandated by U.S. federal or state regulations, but it supports U.S. OSHA Process Safety Management regulation and other similar international regulations by identifying and creating a standard measure of safety performance indicators. Additionally, this document supports sustainability targets for providing clean energy, resilient infrastructure and emission reductions, under the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Join the leadership of the API RP 754 standard development committee, September 16 for a free webinar, as they review the major changes to the newly released 3rd edition. To learn more about RP 754 and API’s over 700 world-class standards developed to drive safety, operational performance improvements and sustainability, visit