(382g) Teaching Safety – a British and European Experience | AIChE

(382g) Teaching Safety – a British and European Experience


Pitt, M. J. - Presenter, University of Sheffield

Safety has long been an absolute requirement for UK chemical engineering courses accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), but has not been included in many European degrees.  The IChemE Safety and Loss Prevention Subject Group arranges periodic workshops for lecturers, and the most recent one (2010) was a European one in association with the European Federation of Chemical Engineering, following increasing interest.  This paper is based on the author’s experience as a lecturer, workshop organizer and accreditor of degree schemes.

A practical problem is that few UK departments are active in safety research and therefore most do not have faculty with the specialist knowledge.  Moreover, safety is actually one of the hardest subjects to teach since it requires an overview and appreciation of the interaction of various processes, human and technical.  It is therefore necessary to be realistic in deciding what can be achieved with the time and resources available.  Achievements may be specified as awareness, understanding and competence.

The methods which have been used include:

  • Safety integration throughout the degree by inclusion in most other modules
  • Badged “Safety” modules (including health and possibly environment)
  • Teaching along with a few modules, such as laboratory, management, design
  • Visiting industrial speakers
  • A “Roadshow” of visiting academics and industrialists
  • Videos, computer and Internet resources

The problem is therefore not just what to teach, but who and how.  The British experience (good and bad) and some European developments may be of interest to others.