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Process Safety Management in the Chemical Engineering

process-safety-texvyn

Process Safety management is a subject that we feel is a vital part of the education of chemical engineers.This article will discuss Process Safety Management, why we feel it is essential, the various aspects of hazard identification and prevention and the responsibilities of our profession in this respect. There is a broader pedagogical issue here that we will deal with as well. The field of engineering practice is changing rapidly driven by many factors such as globalization, the breakdown of old hierarchical structures of management as a result of enormous increases in collaboration, and the rapid change is the skills and knowledge required of our graduating engineers. There is an impending crisis in North America where many of the senior managers, scientists and engineers are soon to retire. This will mean the loss of irreplaceable knowledge unless there is some way to effectively pass it on to the next generation of individuals responsible for keeping economy viable.


The modern civilization is totally dependent on the process industries whether they are Oil and Gas,Chemical (which of course includes the bio option),Pharmaceuticals and so on. By the very nature of these industries one often must deal will significant potential hazard such as fire and explosion, toxic release and many other similar situations? The process industries have by and large made a significant effort to mitigate these risks, however they still will exist because of the various materials and processes involved. There are many instances where disasters occurred because of poor design, unsafe operating conditions and errors in judgement


Flixborough http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/sragtech/caseflixboroug74.htm

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The Flixborough works of Nypro produced caprolactam a monomer for nylon. One of the critical steps was the oxidation of cyclohexane to cyclohexanol in a series of six catalytic reactors in the presence of air. It was discovered that one of the reactors had a small crack resulting in an unplanned shutdown. This reactor was removed from service and a temporary pipe section was fabricated in the machine shop to replace the cracked reactor. Anecdotal evidence states that the pipe was designed with a piece of chalk on the floor of the maintenance shop. This temporary section was not adequately supported and upon pressurization it failed and released a large cloud of cyclohexane vapour. An unknown source of ignition caused this cloud to explode resulting in the death of 28 people and the injury of some 36 others. There was significant damage in the adjacent village.


Bhopal http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/3/newsid_2698000/2698709.stm