(8a) Using Process Safety Tools to Find and Sell an Inherently Safer Design: A Case Study | AIChE

(8a) Using Process Safety Tools to Find and Sell an Inherently Safer Design: A Case Study

Using Process Safety Tools to find
and sell an Inherently Safer Design:  A
Case Study


Claire Fluegeman and Margery Kosch

3M Company

This paper
will focus on the use of PSM tools to communicate risk and influence decision
making during the design process.

As our
facility began the design and installation of a new large-scale process, we
identified numerous challenges.  A
significant processing culture shift came when the new continuous operation was
introduced into a production structure that is largely used to working with
batch process operations.  Included in
this was a shift from using drumstock Acrylic Acid to using bulk tank storage
and delivery to the process equipment. 
Receiving bulk Acrylic Acid in tank trucks and railcars presented new
challenges, and new opportunities for error, that had not yet been considered. 

During the
detailed design process hazard analysis that was conducted for the project, a potentially
catastrophic scenario was identified involving the unloading of Acrylic
Acid.  Because of the potential impact of
the event, a Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) was conducted.  Ultimately, the only true way to reduce the
risk of the event to an acceptable level was to evaluate numerous modifications
to the unloading process.  However, this
was met with a fair amount of resistance from the design team as it could
significantly impact the project cost and implementation timetable. 

The site
PSM Coordinator, who facilitated both the PHA and the LOPAs for the project, had
the responsibility to persist with those that make the decisions and ensure
that the true risk of the scenario was properly communicated.  Using the qualitative and semi-quantitative
results of the PHA and LOPA, site safety personnel were able to intervene and
convince the decision makers that the right thing to do was develop an
inherently safer design for the unloading of this highly hazardous material.  Even though there were additional costs and some
redesign was involved, the final product resulted in an inherently safer design
for unloading and delivering bulk acrylic acid, and the repurposing of a
facility that was currently not in service.