Considerations for Effectively Managing Emergency Relief Systems Design

Global Congress on Process Safety
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 30, 2013 - 8:00am-8:30am
Emergency relief systems (ERSs) serve as a key layer of protection against loss of containment at a chemical process facility.  ERSs that mitigate all credible scenarios are a fundamental objective of ERS design.  Organizations are placing renewed emphasis on their ERSs design and documentation to make sure their facility and community are safe, as well as their organization remains profitable.   The integrity of the ERS as a layer of protection, however, must continue after “completing” a project to update and document the ERS design basis.   In fact, the project often raises more questions and concerns than it answers.  In order for the ERS to continue to serve as a key layer of protection, an operating facility must maintain, update, and make readily available the ERS documentation as part of an effective overall process safety management (PSM) system.  The consequence is an ongoing effort that the organization may not have fully understood at an ERS update project’s inception.  This continued effort is a challenge for any organization because the effort really begins after the ERS update project is complete.  To adequately address this challenge, an organization’s management must realize the full “lifecycle” cost of maintaining an ERS design basis, which is a requirement of PSM.  

This presentation discusses key considerations for an organization to ensure their ERS system not only protects their facility, but also serves as a critical input into their process hazard analysis (PHA) process and other provisions of PSM (management of change, and pre-startup safety reviews, for example).  Topics include implementing and managing a facility wide ERS design documentation project (a “flare study”), maintaining the ERS design documentation after the project, and effectively integrating the ERS design documentation into other elements of PSM. 

 Learning Objectives:

  1. Understanding the importance of emergency relief systems (ERSs) design as a safety consideration for your facility
  2. Understand the "lifecycle costs” on your organization in order to effectively maintain the integrity of your ERS design
  3. Key considerations to effectively manage and implement an ERS documentation project


Thomas is a Senior Staff Consultant with KBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. and has worked over twenty years in the refining industry.   Thomas’ experience includes positions in operations, technical support, project development, and management for a leading global refining organization.  Thomas understands first hand process safety's impact on operations, project development, and management and he is currently helping organizations be more safe and profitable.

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