Process Safety

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Process Safety Boot Camp

Public (classroom) Course
Offered in North America, this intensive and highly interactive 4-day course trains chemical engineers in the fundamentals of Process Safety. Taught...

Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS)

CCPS was established in 1985 to focus on engineering and management practices that can prevent and mitigate catastrophic accidents involving release of hazardous materials. CCPS is supported by sponsors in the chemical and hydrocarbon process industries and active worldwide via conferences, books, databases, education, research, and more.

Assess Hazards with Process Flow Failure Modes Analysis

March
2013
Safety
Rosalynn MacGregor
Process flow failure modes (PFFM) analysis is an intuitive, process-flow-directed way to identify potentially hazardous scenarios. Learn how to apply this technique to your process hazard reviews.

Maintain Accurate Process Safety Information

April
2014
Back To Basics
Sandipan Laskar
Accurate process safety information is the cornerstone of effective process safety management. Follow this three-phase approach to create and maintain an effective PSI program.

Is Your Dust Collection System An Explosion Hazard?

October
2003
Safety
Vahid Ebadat, Ph.D.
The prevalence of dust explosions in dust collection units may be due to the fact that the hazards posed by the powders handled are not fully understood or that explosion preventive and protective control measures are insufficient or absent. This...

Managing Dust Explosion Hazards

August
2009
Safety
Vahid Ebadat, Ph.D.
Companies that handle powders or other particulate solids need to be aware of the potential for fire and explosions, and follow industry best practices, codes and standards to manage the risk.

Navigating NFPA Codes and Standards

May
2012
Safety
Jeremy Lebowitz
Follow the recommendations and how-to Guidance provided by the National Fire Protection Association to safeguard against fires and explosions.

Minimize Electrostatic Hazards During Process Operations

June
2013
Safety
Vahid Ebadat, Ph.D.
Understand the electrostatic hazards of your process so you can limit the accumulation of charge and prevent static discharge in flammable atmospheres. Select the appropriate combination of electrostatic mitigation measures to ensure safety from electrostatic ignition hazards.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Be Prepared, Be Safe, and Have Fun

August
2014
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
One of my favorite warm weather activities is kayaking. The river provides a respite away from crowds and electronic distractions. Daily stressors are erased by the warm sun, a light breeze, and the sound of water lapping at my boat. A recent weekend with great weather afforded the perfect opportunity to go out on the river with my husband. Earlier that week, severe storms blew through the area with significant rainfall and flash flooding. This increased the volume of water in the river, so conditions would be perfect for a fast and exciting ride. It also called for a more-mindful approach to safety hazards, like swift currents and debris in the water.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Sensing Safety

August
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
Most of us are fortunate enough to have five working senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. We use these personal, internal feedback loops to perceive and understand our surroundings, which makes our senses some of our most valuable and essential safety equipment. Before the advent of optical, vibrational, and auditory sensors, the chemical process industries (CPI) depended on sensory perception to identify operational upsets or changes. Although sensing equipment is now ubiquitous in CPI facilities, we must also use our senses to collect critical safety data, rather than blindly relying on equipment to signal unsafe conditions.

Streamline Your Process Hazard Analysis

January
2013
Safety
Molly R. Myers, Judy Perry
A little creativity during preparation — developing checklists, grouping similar processes, pre-populating worksheets, and considering possible deviations and safeguards before meeting face to face — goes a long way toward improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your PHA efforts.

Process Safety Beacon: Stop! Look! Listen!

December
2015
Process Safety Beacon
Railroad crossings that are not protected by gates or warning lights typically include signs to alert you of the potential for danger. Versions of the sign all have one thing in common — the reminder to stop, look, and listen. Only after stopping...

Select the Best Model for Two-Phase Relief Sizing

May
2001
Safety
Ronald Darby, Ron Darby, Paul R. Meiller, & Jarad R. Stockton
A variety of methods exist for sizing valves, but not all give the best predictions for certain conditions. RonDarby-PaulR.Meiller-JaradR.Stockton-

OSHA's New Chemical NEP: How to Make the Grade and Earn Extra Credit

October
2012
Safety
Heather Forgione, Henry Ozog
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration evaluates chemical facilities’ process safety management systems through a new national emphasis program. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of receiving citations, streamline the inspection process, and pave the way for future excellence.

Avoid Chemical Reactivity Incidents in Warehouses

February
2008
Safety
Scott Berger, Peter Lodal, J. Wayne Chastain, William W. Doerr, Scott Berger and Peter N. Lodal
Use this approach for the initial evaluation of potential reactivity hazards in storage applications.

Use Hydrogen Safely

July
2013
Safety
David Farese, Svetlana Ivanova
Understand the potential dangers associated with handling and storing hydrogen, and take the appropriate precautions to mitigate the risks.

Take the FUN Out of Process Safety

February
2014
Safety
Peter Lodal
Process safety can be approached in many different ways. This article provides an unconventional way of looking at process safety that ties together wide-ranging ideas from seemingly disparate fields.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Personal Growth and Lessons Learned from Two Global Tragedies

November
2014
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
The 30-year anniversaries of two events of significance to the chemical engineering profession, particularly the process safety community, occur in November and December — the PEMEX disaster outside of Mexico City, Mexico, and the Union Carbide Corp. tragedy in Bhopal, India. These two incidents, two-and-a-half weeks apart, molded my professional career and ultimately motivated me to work for the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) at AIChE, where our mission is to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

Sizing Pressure-Relief Devices

October
2013
Back To Basics
Dr. Daniel A. Crowl, Scott A. Tipler
Although relief devices may never be activated, they must be designed and sized to function correctly every time they are necessary. This article provides an introduction to sizing pressure-relief devices for liquid and vapor service.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Verify, then Act

May
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
Verify-then-act is a practice and mindset that all engineers and personnel in the chemical process industries (CPI) should adopt. Mixing the wrong chemicals, setting temperatures or pressures outside of safe operating limits, or performing a step out of sequence can result in a range of consequences, from a bad batch or loss of production to a catastrophic incident. However, simply verifying before acting can reduce the risk of these penalties and save time, money, and lives.

Characterize Reactive Chemicals with Calorimetry

July
2013
Safety
Dr. Daniel A. Crowl, Jason Keith
In designing and operating chemical manufacturing processes, the reactivity of chemicals must be identified to avoid hazards. Calorimetry experiments combined with analytical methods provide a straightforward technique to identify these reactions...

Improve Process Safety with Near-Miss Analysis

May
2013
On The Horizon
Ulku Oktem, Ankur Pariyani, Dr. Warren Seider, Masoud Soroush
Valuable information about unsafe conditions resides in the large alarm databases of distributed control systems and emergency shutdown systems. This overlooked and underutilized information can be analyzed to identify process near-misses and determine the probability of serious accidents.

Design an Inherently Safer Plant

January
2012
Special Section
Steven T. Maher, P.E., Kristin D. Norton, P.E., Senem Surmeli
Continue to search for ways to build safety into your process — from conceptual through detailed design, to procurement and construction, and even into operation.

A Root-Cause Approach to PSM Audits

October
2013
Safety
David Heller, David Kahn
Tracing audit findings back to the management system that allowed the failure to occur is an effective way to uncover deficiencies in an organization’s process safety management system. Follow the guidance provided in this article to apply root-cause-based auditing to your facility.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Discover Your Personal Process Safety Culture

February
2014
Spotlight on Safety
John Herber
Culture can be defined as a collective group of shared beliefs and values that shape how we act. We think of culture as it relates to the actions and reactions of a group, company, or society. However, it can also characterize an individual — what influences how you make day-to-day decisions or handle various situations. Personal process safety culture can be assessed by observing someone’s (yours or another person’s) response to situations involving a safety violation.

Process Safety: How are you Doing?

May
2008
Safety
Scott Berger, Tim Overton and Scott Berger
Use these metrics to benchmark your company's process safety performance, and to set a course toward continual improvement.

Spotlight on Safety: Enable Employee Growth and Success

November
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Albert Ness
On a recent talk radio program, Zeynep Ton, the author of the book The Good Jobs Strategy, discussed the defining factors of a good job — fair wages, predictable schedules, and opportunities for growth and success. The last element — opportunities...

Process Safety Beacon: Wrong Hose Causes Ammonia Leak

November
2015
Process Safety Beacon
One morning in July 2009, at a plant in South Carolina, a truck of anhydrous ammonia was unloaded into a storage tank using a hose stored on the truck trailer. Shortly after the transfer started, the unloading hose ruptured and released a cloud of...

Moving Process Safety into the Board Room

September
2015
Safety
B. Karthikeyan
Top management is often unfamiliar with the high-risk process safety decisions being made on a daily basis by plant managers. Incorporate this method into your management of change (MOC) procedure to ensure that all decisions are consistent with your organization’s risk-tolerance level.

AIChE Journal Highlight: A Sustainable Approach to Process Safety

November
2015
Journal Highlight
Process safety engineering involves the use of fundamental engineering knowledge (e.g., thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and kinetics) to develop and apply measures to prevent, mitigate, and respond to catastrophic incidents. The objective of this...

Guidelines for Defining Process Safety Competency Requirements

October, 2015
This Guideline presents the framework of process safety knowledge and expertise versus the desired competency level in a “super-matrix” format, vertically and diagonally. The matrix references for potential remedies/required training may be tailored to a company’s internally developed training,...

Process Safety Beacon: Water, Water Everywhere...

October
2015
Process Safety Beacon
Water can be found throughout most chemical processing facilities — whether it is being used to clean buildings and equipment or as a lubricant, seal flush, or process solvent. Water also serves as a common heat-transfer fluid, suitable as cooling...

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Unloading and Loading Hazardous Materials

September
2015
Process Safety Beacon
While loading and unloading operations in your tank farm may seem simple — transferring material -— these facilities may be some of the most important contributors to process safety risk in your plant. The tank farm probably contains the largest inventory of hazardous material in your plant. Operations, though simple, involve large quantities. The consequence of a loss of containment may be severe.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Operational Readiness

August
2015
Process Safety Beacon
Any time that you introduce material or energy into equipment that is not currently being used, it is essential that you confirm that the equipment is ready. Are all of the parts of the equipment actually there and properly installed, or is something missing? Are all the valves that are supposed to be open actually open, and are all the valves that are supposed to be closed actually closed? Is everything else ready to use?

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Know When to Leave

July
2015
Process Safety Beacon
You cannot know when an unexpected reaction in a vessel might develop enough pressure to cause the vessel to rupture. All a large release of a flammable vapor needs in order to burn or explode is an ignition source. Never put yourself in danger by remaining in the area if this happens in your plant. Know your facility’s emergency plans, participate in drills, and know when to evacuate or shelter in a safe place.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Mechanical Integrity

May
2015
Process Safety Beacon
An effective MOC system is vital to the success of any piping integrity management program. Your plant inspection group can anticipate changes in corrosion or other deterioration and change inspection schedules and procedures appropriately. Make sure your inspection group is involved in the approval process for changes that may affect the integrity of piping or other equipment.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Safe Work Practices

April
2015
Process Safety Beacon
The term safe work practices refers to the processes we use to authorize nonroutine work activities, and to control the hazards and manage the risks associated with these activities. Safe work practices often authorize work through permits, which frequently include checklists of potential hazards associated with the work. A nonroutine activity has nothing to do with how often the activity is done. Instead, it refers to activities that are not part of the normal process for converting raw materials to finished product, and not covered by the plant’s standard operating procedures for normal operations.

CEP: Material Matters - Tool Helps Predict Reactivity Hazards

April
2015
Material Matters
Kirk Richardson
To provide guidance and disseminate reactivity data, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in conjunction with partnering companies and technical associations, developed the Chemical Reactivity Worksheet (CRW). The free software ( http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/reactivityworksheet ) allows CPI professionals to review the reactivity hazards of thousands of individual chemicals, as well as predict the consequence of mixing chemical substances. Since its release in March 2013, the CRW Version 3 (CRW3) has been downloaded approximately 80,000 times.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Who Are All These People?

February
2015
Process Safety Beacon
In many serious events, there may have been more people in the area than were needed to do or monitor the job. Too many people in the area, whether the control room or the plant, can be a distraction, causing bad decisions that could lead to serious...

Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety

March, 2007
Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety provides guidelines for industries that manufacture, consume, or handle chemicals, by focusing on new ways to design, correct, or improve process safety management practices.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - What Is the Process Risk?

January
2015
Process Safety Beacon
The worst process incident that can happen in your plant may not be the same as the highest process risk. Risk is a combination of how likely an incident is and how bad the consequences could be. The process incident in your plant with the worst consequences may be very unlikely to occur. Other less-severe incidents may be more likely, making the risk of these events higher than the incident with the worst consequences. You should be aware of all process risks in your plant, and your role in managing all of them.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Ignition Sources

August
2014
Process Safety Beacon
The best way to prevent fires and flammable vapor explosions, either inside or outside process piping and equipment, is to avoid creating a flammable mixture. However, we must also recognize that our equipment and operating procedures can fail and a...

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Persistence – Good or Bad?

July
2014
Process Safety Beacon
Some process safety incidents have occurred because operating personnel failed to recognize that a process was not responding as expected. They attempted to keep a process in operation by deviating from standard procedures, or put themselves in danger by attempting to correct an out-of-control process condition rather than evacuating.

(Chinese) Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety

August, 2013
《基于风险的过程安全》系统介绍了CCPS新一代过程安全管理体系的架构,阐述了基于风险的过程安全管理的4大原则,详细描述了过程安全体系中的20个基本要素。

(Chinese) Guidelines for the Management of Change for Process Safety

January, 2013
《工艺安全管理:变更管理导则》的主要意图就是向读者讲述清楚变更管理系统的基本内容。变更管理系统帮助确保对装置的设计、操作、维护和机构变更等不会对雇员、公众或者环境造成不利影响。

(Chinese) Layer of Protection Analysis: Simplified Process Risk Assessment

May, 2010
保护层分析:简化的过程风险评估》系统介绍了保护层分析(LOPA)的基本原理及其发展历史,详细描述了LOPA分析的相关概念和分析过程,如场景开发、初始事件及频率、独立保护层的识别等,并使用贯穿全书的两个案例对LOPA分析的过程及要点进行了展示,有利于读者理解掌握LOPA分析的方法和要点。

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Major Spills and Environmental Incidents

May
2014
Process Safety Beacon
We may think of process safety incidents as fires, explosions, and immediate injuries from exposure to toxic, corrosive, or otherwise hazardous materials. However, major spills of hazardous materials, especially into rivers or other bodies of water, are also process safety incidents. They have the potential to impact large numbers of people, including people far away from your plant.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Normalization of Deviation — Identify It, Correct It, Prevent It

May
2014
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
Whether we are talking about occupational safety or process safety, normalizing a deviation can result in unsafe practices, conditions, and operations. Getting comfortable with and accepting these deviations can cause a shift in our perception of what is safe. Why does this matter? Moving the target for safe operating limits and tolerating the higher risk s associated with doing so can ultimately lead to a catastrophic incident.

Inherently Safer Chemical Processes: A Life Cycle Approach, 2nd Edition

December, 2008
Inherently Safer Chemical Processes presents a holistic approach to making the development, manufacture, and use of chemicals safer. It discusses strategies for substituting more benign chemicals at the development stage, minimizing risk in the transportation of chemicals, using safer processing...

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Are We Reliving Past Incidents?

February
2014
Process Safety Beacon
The short answer to this questions is YES. In 1993, Trevor Kletz, who passed away on Oct. 31, 2013, at the age of 91, wrote a book titled Lessons from Disaster: How Organizations Have No Memory and Accidents Recur. Twenty years later, we still fail to learn from accidents, and we repeat them.

Protect Your Process with the Proper Flame Arresters

December
2013
Safety
Michael Davies, Thomas Heidermann
A flame arrester may be installed to keep an external flame out of a tank or vessel or to ensure that a flame burning within a pipeline does not propagate to other equipment. Use the information presented here to determine what type of device is appropriate for your application.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Hazards of Strong Oxidizers

December
2013
Process Safety Beacon
A worker was asked to move two open-top 5-gal pails containing aqueous sodium permanganate solution from one location to another. When he picked up the pails, the contents of one of them erupted, spraying him with the solution. Sodium permanganate is a strong oxidizer, and the splashed material set the worker’s clothing on fire. His injuries required hospital treatment.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Holiday Operations

November
2013
Process Safety Beacon
Many plants shut down or reduce operations during a holiday period. Equipment may be in a non-standard condition while processes are on hold or shut down. Even though the plant is shut down, it is likely that hazardous materials are still present in storage tanks and process vessels. Equipment that is shut down may be opened for inspection or maintenance. Some plants continue to operate during a holiday but with reduced staff, delaying less-critical activities.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas

October
2013
Process Safety Beacon
One hundred years ago, on Oct. 14, 1913, the Senghenydd Colliery in Glamorgan, South Wales, exploded, resulting in 439 fatalities. This was the worst coal mine disaster in the history of the U.K. The incident is believed to have been started by...

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Air Power

September
2013
Process Safety Beacon
Air is always all around us, and the oxygen it contains is necessary for life. But, compressed air (or any other compressed gas) contains a lot of energy and can cause major damage if a vessel or pipe fails.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Can a Water Pump Explode?

August
2013
Process Safety Beacon
The answer must be yes, or we would not have a Beacon on this subject. The centrifugal pumps in the pictures are all water pumps that exploded. The explosions did not occur because of any contamination or chemical reaction with something that was...

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Remembering Piper Alpha

July
2013
Process Safety Beacon
This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha offshore oil platform disaster in the North Sea approximately 110 miles (180 km) from Aberdeen, Scotland. On July 6, 1988, a series of catastrophic explosions and fires destroyed the platform...

Guidelines for Engineering Design for Process Safety, 2nd Edition

April, 2012
The book focuses on process safety issues in the design of chemical, petrochemical, and hydrocarbon processing facilities. It discusses how to select designs that can prevent or mitigate the release of flammable or toxic materials, which could lead to a fire, explosion, or environmental damage.

Guidelines for Acquisition Evaluation and Post Merger Integration

June, 2010
It is crucial for process safety professionals to be aware of best practices for post merger integration at any level. A compilation of industry best practices from both technical and financial perspectives, this book provides a single reference that addresses acquisitions and merger integration...

Guidelines for Developing Quantitative Safety Risk Criteria

August, 2009
Written by a committee of safety professionals, this book creates a foundation document for the development and application of risk tolerance criteria. Helps safety managers evaluate the frequency, severity and consequence of human injury Includes examples of risk tolerance criteria used by NASA,...

Continuous Monitoring for Hazardous Material Releases

March, 2009
Whether occurring accidentally or through acts of terrorism, catastrophic chemical releases must be identified early in order to mitigate their consequences. Continuous sensor monitoring can detect catastrophic chemical releases early enough to curb extreme amounts of damage. In several notable...

Incidents That Define Process Safety

March, 2008
Incidents That Define Process Safety describes approximately fifty incidents that have had a significant impact on the chemical and refining industries' approaches to modern process safety. Events are described in detail so readers get a fundamental understanding of the root causes, the...
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