From our colleagues at the New York Section, about their meeting on process safety …
“Safety First” is an admonition we learn early in life. Safety is also very important to chemical engineers – as we need to know about lab safety, personal safety, plant safety, process safety, and risk management. Is there an overall theory for this? … but, first a short anecdote.
A recent article by engineer/novelist Nick Arvin recounts a friend’s job interview where this question came up: ‘What is your engineering philosophy?’
“He had never before thought about his ‘engineering philosophy’ but he realized at that moment that did have one. ‘Simplify’ he said. He happened to be interviewing at Apple, a company that has risen to glory for its unusual commitment to the idea that a device works best (and most beautifully) when what is unnecessary has been removed.”
Similarly, process safety management focuses on preventing releases of any substance defined as a “highly hazardous chemicals” (by such regulatory bodies as EPA or OSHA). It has evolved from its early days of containing these risks, to today’s goal to eliminating them by removing hazardous intermediates via inherently safer design. Or, as stated by another discipline’s (architecture) guiding principle, “less is more”. Simplify.
In October, we are honored to have Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), offering a Process Safety Case Study at our Monday, October 15th Dinner Meeting. Dr. Moure-Eraso will review CSB’s Bayer CropScience Investigation as the root of its new Inherently Safer video.
The question of finding inherently safer materials, processes, and technology was not only applicable to Bayer, but also to the entire chemical industry as well. The principles of inherently safer technology, or IST, have the potential to make chemical production safer for workers and the public across the country. The Chairman’s presentation will examine these issues and provide a summary of the CSB’s investigation and formal safety recommendations.
We need for you to RSVP soon. The deadline to reserve for this event is Thursday, Oct. 11th, 5 pm. Reserve Now.
Undergraduate Students: Free, but you must pre-register.