(516d) Incorporation of Che Safety into the Core Curriculum | AIChE

(516d) Incorporation of Che Safety into the Core Curriculum


Bayles, T. - Presenter, University of Pittsburgh, Chemical & Petroleum Eng
Enick, R. - Presenter, University of Pittsburgh
The Chemical Engineering Pillars curriculum at the University of Pittsburgh allows our student to take their core CHE classes in a ‘block-schedule’ which immerses them into four two-hour classes each week, with the fifth two-hour class each week spent in a hands-on unit operations laboratory course. In their last semester, the last two-hour unit operations laboratory course is replaced by a two credit CHE Safety and Ethics course. The Pillars curriculum does not add more credits, compared to a traditional curriculum, but instead uses the hours more effectively through restructuring. Importantly, for the student, it provides larger blocks of time to actively engage in learning in the classroom with the support of the instructor – and allows for a hands-on unit operations laboratory experience for five consecutive semesters for the students in parallel with their core courses – and in the last semester, the students are immersed in applying and analyzing process safety that they have learned in previous semesters and tackle ethical and safety considerations that they will be faced with upon graduation.

This presentation will provide the details of the structure of how we have implemented a hands-on design project in the first CHE Pillar course (the primary design criteria is safety), the structure of the laboratory courses (which provides hands-on laboratory experiences for 300-350 students each semester – for five consecutive semesters), the incorporation of the SAChE training completed over five semesters, implementation of safety in various pillar design projects, and the integration of process safety in the final capstone process design course (where students complete process synthesis, equipment design, process optimization, process safety, process economics, and consider the impact of their design solution in global, economic, environmental and social context). In addition, an overview of the CHE Safety and Ethics course will be provided, in which the students are required to successfully complete ten SAChE modules that complement seven other modules completed in their pillar lab courses, thereby allowing them to complete both the Basic and Intermediate SAChE curricula. Each week, class begins with a “Safety Minute” (actually 10-minute) review of a Chemical Safety Board incident report and video; these 14 cases cover a wide range of industrial incidents, all of which cause injuries and most of which resulted in fatalities. With respect to the remaining class time, four major incidents are used to provide a case-study framework for explaining the main concepts of plant health and safety. Finally, student teams are asked to report on the technical, economic, global, environmental, and regulatory aspects of the Deepwater Horizon incident and an oilfield explosion. The groups are also asked to provide design concepts that would minimize the chances of the oilfield explosion from re-occurring.