Incidents involving uncontrolled chemical reactions continue to result in injuries, fatalities and economic loss and harm in industry. These incidents are often the result of not identifying or understanding the chemical reactivity hazards involved in storage, mixing or processing operations. The Reactivity Evaluation Software Tool and the Help Guide that accompanies it can be used as a consistent approach to identifying and evaluating chemical reactivity hazards so that they may be effectively avoided or controlled.
The Reactivity Management Roundtable (RMR) was founded in 2003 by a small group of process safety professionals that meet independently of both AIChE and CCPS with the goal of reviewing the newly published Chemical Safety Board Reactive Hazard Investigation report that analyzed 167 serious chemical reactivity incidents over a twenty year period in order to recommend best practices that could reduce or eliminate reactivity incidents in the future. The group quickly swelled to over 100 members. Because most of the members were also AIChE members a strong association was forged between AIChE and the RMR which soon lead to the adoption of the RMR as an AIChE CCPS subcommittee. The RMR officially requested CCPS project status and funding in 2009 in order to begin the task of producing a computer tool to predict chemical reactivity risks in the workplace.
The work of the committee has always been directed toward part time process safety specialist who own or are employed by small to mid-size firms where chemicals are stored, handled or used. It was anticipated that these specialist would be employees actively engaged in primary functions other than process safety, and thus would not have the skills to assess that reactivity hazard risk themselves nor the funds to employ a Process Safety Professional or Consultant to assess the risk for them. It is sincerely hoped that this product will help identify chemical reactivity risks within the workplace and direct the user, owners and managers of those at risk workplaces to resources to quantify and remediate the risk. REST was not designed to fulfill any legal requirement for a Chemical Reactivity Management system but it is hoped that it will promote the adoption of strong Chemical Reactivity Management Systems within the target audience.
This paper will describe the Reactivity Evaluation Tool and demonstrate its use in identifying reactivity hazards in chemical storage, handling and processing operations.
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