As I am working on this column, the United States is cleaning up from two major hurricanes: Harvey and Irma. Harvey hit the heart of the chemical industry in Houston at the end of August and many plants were forced to shut down for several days. As Editor Mark Rosenzweig notes in his column this month (“Ponder Harvey’s Hard Knocks”), that hurricane led to one event that sullied the chemical industry’s reputation. Moreover, Harvey raised some issues that all plants should ponder.
The need for process safety in the chemical industry is always paramount. Technical knowledge and effective approaches for eliminating or addressing hazards are crucial. Our cover story “Reduce Process Safety Events,” provides some proven pointers from Dow Chemical, a company with an admirable track record.
CP long has focused on process safety (see: “Here’s a Safe Bet.”) In line with that focus, this year we introduced our Process Safety Series. It had four well-attended and thought-provoking webinars. You can access the on-demand versions of these topics: Leadership In Process Safety, Enforcement and Operational Discipline, Process Safety Competence, and Failure To Learn.
Dr. M. Sam Mannan, PE, CSP, DHC, Regents Professor and Director, Mary Kay O' Connor Safety Center, worked with the editors of Chemical Processing to create this series. He served as the expert presenter for each webinar.
We are happy to announce that we’ve expanded the program for 2018, adding two more topics for a total of six webinars. We also are pleased that Dr. Mannan once again will serve as the expert presenter. I will be the moderator.
Here’s a rundown of the 2018 lineup (all webinars take place at 2 p.m. ET):
Safe Work Practices — February 8: Safe work practices are a set of guidelines on how to perform a specific task that may not always be done in exactly the same way. These practices should be developed to mitigate hazards that have been identified through the hazard-management process. Safe work practices should include lock-out/tag-out, decontamination of equipment, hot-work permits, confined-space entry, control of access, shift handover and simultaneous operations. Integrating risk assessment and risk management principles is essential.
Management of Change — April 21: Process changes handled incorrectly have led to a number of catastrophic incidents. Governmental regulations and industry standards mandate a well-defined administrative procedure for management of change (MOC) as a key element of a process safety management system. These regulations and standards provide the baseline and framework for development of MOC programs. This webinar summarizes the diversity of implementation practices in industry and the traps and shortcomings encountered in establishing and maintaining effective MOC programs. Some of the issues addressed include: scope, policy development, change and replacement-in-kind, size of MOC programs, emergency and temporary changes, MOC record management, audits, MOC software and MOC program awareness training.
Impact of Facility Siting on Preventing Incidents — June 14: The layout of process buildings and equipment can determine the cost and complexity of a plant site and significantly impact the safety of its operation. Building inherent safety into a site can reduce both the cost and complexity. Optimum facility siting minimizes the risk of losses throughout a site’s lifecycle and builds an even safer work environment.
Implementation Challenges for Inherently Safer Technologies — August 16: We must create a culture of learning from incidents. Selecting incident investigations teams with the appropriate diversity of discipline and depth of experience and worker training is a must. All the resources should be in place for proper training. Training should be carefully designed and continuously updated. In high hazard industries, training devices may provide the only exposure workers get to certain hazardous conditions or potential emergencies; accordingly, such training should be especially rigorous and thorough.
Runaway Reactions — October 22: This webinar is an introduction to chemical reactivity and the evaluation of potential hazards posed by the reactivity of industrial chemicals. This presentation will provide a basis for evaluating chemicals to ensure safe and economical operation of plants.
Dust Explosions — December 4: Dust explosions are a very complex phenomenon. Simulating the boundary conditions of an industrial-scale event in a laboratory is very difficult. Therefore, discrepancy exists between experimental methods, tools and approaches. This discrepancy has prevented development of a reliable tool/model for scaling-up laboratory observations to industrial applications. Obtaining adequate knowledge of dust properties requires consulting several sources of information and learning the history of previous incidents.
Early registration for these webinars begins Dec. 1. Send me an email at [email protected] and I will be sure to send you the registration link when it’s available.
I hope you’ll be in the audience.