CEP: December 2014

Thirty years ago this month, the worst chemical accident in history occurred. The catastrophic release of of methyl isocyanate from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, resulted in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries. Two articles and the Process Safety Beacon in this issue review some of the lessons learned from that tragic incident. Other topics this month include fine-particle filtration, avoiding fluidization pitfalls and robust process control.
 

Editorial

It’s All About the Culture

December 3 marks the 30th anniversary of the worst chemical accident in history — the catastrophic release of methyl isocyanate (MIC) from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984 that resulted in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries. Two articles and the Process Safety Beacon in this issue review some of the lessons learned from that tragic incident.

While putting this issue together, I came across the results of a survey conducted recently by Dräger, a manufacturer of industrial gas-detection equipment, that asked frontline workers and safety managers in the oil and gas sector about their perspectives on the state of safety in their industry. In general, the respondents believe the industry as a whole is committed to safety, although they say that opportunities for improvement exist.

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Consider the Role of Safety Layers in the Bhopal Disaster

December
2014
Safety
Dr. Ronald J. Willey
As the situation unfolded, numerous layers of protection failed. Take a look at the safety layers that worked and those that did not, and ask whether there are similarities at your facility.

Apply Can’t Rather than Don’t to Your Process

December
2014
Safety
William Levinson
Many safety systems rely on human intervention to prevent incidents. A different approach is to make it impossible for a catastrophic accident to occur. Learn how to implement the Can’t Rather than Don’t principle.

Choosing a Fine-Particle Filtration System

December
2014
Reactions and Separations
Barry A. Perlmutter
Filtration technology has advanced to meet the demand to remove small particles at low concentrations. When designed correctly, a candle filter or a pressure plate filter may be a more-efficient replacement for a traditional filtration scheme.

Avoid Fluidization Pitfalls

December
2014
Back To Basics
Raymond Cocco, S. B. Reddy Karri, Ted Knowlton
Fluidized beds are susceptible to such problems as bed slugging, loss of fines, and gas bypassing. This article explains how to avoid these pitfalls.

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 2

December
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
Robust control can be applied to design controllers that can handle process uncertainty. Learn how to use identification experiments to obtain estimates of this uncertainty.
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