Chemical industry needs to cut hazards

The chemical industry lacks common practice protocols and understanding to identify safer processes, a new report said.

06/04/2012


ISS SourceThe chemical industry needs guidance in choosing alternative processing methods to reduce or eliminate hazards, a national panel said in a report released on May 11, 2012.

In the grand scheme of things, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require chemical companies to follow certain procedures to ensure manufacturing processes are safe. Having said that though, the report by the National Research Council (NRC) said the chemical industry needs better practices and understanding to identify safer processes.

It recommends the U.S. Chemical Safety Board or other entity develop a plan to help chemical plant managers choose alternative processes to reduce or eliminate hazards.

One method, known as an “inherently safer process” assessment, aims to minimize or eliminate a hazard. But the assessment does not always provide clear guidance. The report said switching to a non-flammable solvent in a process would remove a fire hazard. But if the solvent is toxic, then there is a new hazard.

Use of inherently safer process strategies would reduce the number of vulnerable areas around a company’s facilities, which would decrease the scope of emergency preparedness programs. But it potentially could narrow the focus too much and overlook certain outcomes, the report said.

Congress ordered the study following a 2008 explosion at BayerCropscience’s plant in Institute, WV, which killed two workers. The explosion occurred near a storage tank containing methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic chemical also known as MIC. The tank did not suffer damage and the chemical did not release.

Bayer took measures to reduce risks associated with MIC manufacturing and storage at the Institute plant. But the company did not incorporate all possible methods to control hazards, the report said.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Mobile HMI; PID tuning tips; Mechatronics; Intelligent project management; Cybersecurity in Russia; Engineering education; Road to IANA
Save energy with automation; Process control system upgrades; Dispelling controll myths; Time-sensitive networking; Control system integration; Road to IANA
Additive manufacturing advancements; Machine vision enhances robotics; Fieldbus evolution; Process safety; Advice from System Integrators of the Year; Road to IANA
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial

(copy 5)

click me