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Chemical Industry: Keep Up With Evolving Codes

Sept. 1, 2021
Knowing the key differences between new and previous versions is important

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Technology and practices change with the times. Indeed, in our industry, virtually nothing stays static except fundamental relationships set by nature. Some design methods considered state-of-the-art not that long ago now seem outlandishly outdated. Equipment termed cutting edge a couple of decades back get dismissed as ancient relics. Operating and safety practices deemed acceptable in the past might cause considerable consternation today.

In response to such changes, recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEPs) evolve. Sometimes, particularly for consensus codes and standards, this takes a while, which reflects the deliberate consensus-based nature of the updating and approval process.

Relying on an outdated version of such a code or standard, unless regulations or jurisdictions require its use, doesn’t make sense. However, especially for people who don’t routinely reference such a document, knowing what revisions appear in the latest version and understanding their significance isn’t always easy.

So, Chemical Processing sporadically publishes articles that cover the changes and their impact. We pay particular attention to revisions that relate to process safety resources given their critical importance.

For instance, this issue contains just such an article: “Understand the Key Changes in NFPA 30.” It clarifies what’s new in the 2021 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s “Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code.” It covers six technical changes that were adopted and also two proposed changes that ultimately were rejected but address issues businesses still should consider.

An earlier article — “Understand the Changes in API RP 754,”  — explains the important revisions in an update to a key recommended practice for process safety issued by the American Petroleum Institute.

Still another article — “Safety Instrumented Systems: Bridge the Gap,”  — discusses significant changes in the second editions of two key process safety standards issued by the International Electrotechnical Commission — IEC 61508: “Functional Safety of E/E/PES Safety-Related Systems,” and IEC 61511: “Functional Safety — Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector, Part 1.”

Does Your Existing SIS Get the Job Done,” looks at a revision in the second edition of IEC 61511 that affects the grandfathering of in-place safety instrumented systems.

In addition, another article — “Dust Explosion Standard Gets Significant Revisions,”  — details the implications of updates to NFPA 654.

Changes in government regulations also can have profound impact. The situation in the United States at the moment is particularly fluid because of the Biden Administration’s markedly different attitude to that of the Trump Administration. This is fostering a lot of revisions as well as reversals of prior policies. Fortunately, our monthly “Compliance Advisor” column provides a way to keep up on actions significant to the chemical industry. For instance, August’s column focuses on changes proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reporting rules for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances: “PFAS — Is Anything Not Reportable?” The June column covers changes in toxic release inventory reporting — “EPA Expands TRI Reporting Requirements.”  You can see the the full roster of columns here.

Expect more such content from Chemical Processing in the future.

MARK ROSENZWEIG is Chemical Processing's Editor in Chief. You can email him at [email protected]
About the Author

Mark Rosenzweig | Former Editor-in-Chief

Mark Rosenzweig is Chemical Processing's former editor-in-chief. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' magazine Chemical Engineering Progress. Before that, he held a variety of roles, including European editor and managing editor, at Chemical Engineering. He has received a prestigious Neal award from American Business Media. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union. His collection of typewriters now exceeds 100, and he has driven a 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk for more than 40 years.

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