Chemical Engineering Process SafetyThe chemical engineering sector reflects a major contribution to the global economy. Firms engaged in this sector manufacture an entire gamut of products - antibiotics, cement, gasoline, paper, explosives, plastics, fertilizer, food products, glass, soap, ceramics, and petrochemicals. Several processing units manage dangerous materials along with huge amounts of energy. Though the sector has excellent safety record in comparison to other manufacturing industries, any untoward incident can have disastrous results.
Chemical process accidents occur due to a sudden interface between automated process equipment and technical personnel. In order to enhance safety and reliability, chemical process facilities depend on automation - instrumentation, computers, and programmable logic controllers to operate plants. In an endeavor to enhance energy effectiveness, multiple instruments are interfaced. Equipment malfunction and operator mistakes can result in modifications in plant operation. In case, the interruptions to process operation are more than competencies of the technical personnel/capacity of safety systems, a major accident - fire, explosion, and toxic release can result.
Process safety management starts during the design stage; it’s a vital function of operating/maintenance procedures. Several mega global hydrocarbon processing sectors have in-depth continuous safety training for employees. A robust chemical process management program requires support from senior management – identifying risk, establishing objectives, distributing resources.
Key Functions of Process Safety Management:
- It ensures the continuity of operations, systems, organizations, visions, quality standards, different methods, management.
- It emphasizes on process elucidation, equipment design standards, management information, risk management, security systems, and chemical/occupational health risks.
Capital Project Evaluation
- For current projects, appropriation request procedures, investment risk assessment, hazards review, project management procedures.
Process Risk Management
- Identify risks in existing operations, emergency response; establish risk management in vendor/client organizations.
- Technological/facility/organizational change affecting process safety, variance procedures.
- Reliability engineering, installation procedures, preventive maintenance, process inspections,
- Critical incidents, reporting, resolution.
- Define skills/expertise, training programs, records management.
- Error judgment, technical personnel/process and technical personnel/equipment interface.
Standards, Codes and Laws
- Internal standards, guidelines and practices.
Audits and Corrective Action
- Process safety audits, management system audits.