1660240581197 Rosenzweigweb

Process Safety Program Launches

June 7, 2021
Collaborative initiative aims to boost competency of current workers.

[pullquote]Late May marked the debut of the first course in an innovative process safety certificate program developed jointly by the Texas Chemical Council (TCC), Austin, Texas; the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC) at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; and the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, and Technology (CPET) at San Jacinto College, Pasadena, Texas. The program’s goal is to provide operators, supervisors and engineers with a good backgrounding in process safety. People who successfully take all four courses in the program will receive a certificate from San Jacinto College.

“Students will come away with a greater appreciation of hazards and how to apply what they learn at their plants,” notes Bill Efaw, associate process safety director at Dow Chemical and chair of the MKOPSC steering committee. “The courses aren’t trying to make the students experts but to impart practical pointers.”

The four consecutive courses — Introduction to Process Safety; Introduction to Risk Management; Fire Protection and Emergency Response; and Industrial Safety and Technical Fundamentals — each cost $1,200 and consist of 48 hours of hybrid instruction over three months. Participants will get 24 hours of online sessions and partake in 24 hours of hands-on learning at CPET (one 8-h/d per month over three months). More details, including specifics on each course, can be found here.

The first online session was May 24, with laboratory sessions set for June 18, July 9 and August 13. The Introduction to Risk Management online course is slated to launch in August, with the debut of the other two courses targeted for January 2022.

The online sessions don’t have caps on the number of participants. However, each laboratory session can accommodate only about 20 people — but, when necessary, more lab dates can be added.

In 2020, the TCC, whose membership includes about 70 companies with production plants in the state, launched an initiative to improve process safety performance. A survey of its membership showed overwhelming interest in an educational program. This led to the partnership with the MKOPSC and CPET. The MKOPSC is a recognized leader in process safety education. (CP jointly publishes with MKOPSC the MKO Process Safety Journal; see: www.ChemicalProcessing.com/journals.) CPET, located near the Houston Ship Channel, a key chemicals production area in Texas, features an 8,000-ft2, two-story propylene glycol unit as well as a variety of laboratories including a multi-functional glass pilot lab.

The program will adapt the existing MKOPSC curriculum for engineering students. The MKOPSC, CPET and subject matter experts at TCC member companies have been working together to develop content for each course. The laboratory sessions will focus on process hazard analysis of actual equipment and likely will include simulated incidents.

The TCC, MKOPSC and CPET deserve our plaudits for this initiative. Here’s hoping it succeeds beyond expectations and can serve as a template for such efforts elsewhere in the United States and, indeed, worldwide.

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.

Sponsored Recommendations

Keys to Improving Safety in Chemical Processes (PDF)

Many facilities handle dangerous processes and products on a daily basis. Keeping everything under control demands well-trained people working with the best equipment.

Comprehensive Compressed Air Assessments: The 5-Step Process

A comprehensive compressed air audit will identify energy savings in an air system. This paper defines the 5 steps necessary for an effective air audit.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Managing and Reducing Methane Emission in Upstream Oil & Gas

Measurement Instrumentation for reducing emissions, improving efficiency and ensuring safety.