Posted on: April 11, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Top South African risk specialists shared their expertise at a roadshow of Responsible Care Process Safety workshops, in Johannesburg and Durban in April 2011.

Chemicals sector culture, risks, systsems, legislation, incidents, as well as health, safety, enviornment and quality goals, were discussed at the workshop, hosted by the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA), and supported by Process Safety Forum branches based in Johannesburg and Druban.

Culture causes disasters

Gary Cundill, Group Technical and SHE Manager of AECI, said infamous process safety incidents like Challenger and Columbia space shuttle launches showed that safety incidents were not random events or ‘accidents’, but predictable results of poor safety culture and poor management.

Dust explosion warning

Mark White, Process Development Manager of Fine Chemicals Corporation, analysed risks of static charge ignition of dust explosions, in one case involving paracetamol powder. Combustible powder or dust at critical concentrations could ignite and explode, often with disasterous consequences to workers and the business.

Check on human factors

CAIA Responsible Care manager, Louise Lindeque, analysed ‘human error’ in process safety incidents and advised integration of human factors into process hazard assessment (PHA). Where a health and safety management system is not yet in placce, oeprators could use a process safet human factor checklist to manage the human-plant interface.

Rate management system

Mike Rose of Clova Business Solutions said a systematic approach is required to design safe chemical processes. He introduced an asset integrity approach and measurements by which to monitor and benchmark effectiveness of risk based process safety management systems.

MHI operators co-responsible

Dylan Campbell of ERM Consulting explained how dynamic process safety management systems were used to control risks. Major Hazard Installation (MHI) sites are responsible to prevent off-site impacts, while local authorities are responsible for appropriate town planning, land use planning, emergency services and co-operation with MHI emergency response plans. The UK Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations guide several aspescts of South African MHI Regulations and its current review.

Check on explosive vapours

Douglas Mokoena, Process Safety Specialist at Sasol Limited, explained how explosive mixtures may develop in a tank vapour space, and the need to prevent internal tank explosions. Operating procedures must prevent explosive mixtures. An Excel software questionnaire checklist could identify bulk storage vessels  at risk of vapour space explosions.

Keep Hazops logical

Rod Prior, MD of Shexcellence, described how to fix some problems with hazard operability (Hazop) studies, and how to prevent Hazops from becoming time consuming and costly. He noted some roles of leadership in building teams with safety enthusiasm.

Prioritise risk by impact and frequency

Francois Holtzhausen, Process Safety Advisor at Sasol Limited, noted that understanding and assessment of chemicals and manufacturing risks remained at the heart of process safety initiatives. Petrochemicals operators have to prioritise risks by the factors of impact and frequency, and implement controls to prevent or mitigate potential incidents. Risk management requires a systematic approach.

Manage process change

Ian Kennon, Site and Services Director of Safripol, explained how a management of change (MOC) process evaluates proposed changes to plant design, operations or organisation, to prevent increasing or introducing unforeseen hazards and risks.

Kleen Energy explosion causes

Kevin Harding of Wits University School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering chaired an interactive panel session about the Kleen Energy plant explosions. Delegates saw a USA Chemical Safety Board (CSB) video of the incident and discussed root causes and corrective actions. The incident killed seven and seroiusly injured 12 employees.

PSM and RC aims

Process safety management (PSM) aims to reduce risk and avoid loss from unintentional release of toxic, reactive, or flammable liquids or gases. Responsible Care (RC) aims to prevent and reduce fatalities, injuries, environmental impacts, quality inconsistency, and loss incidents, since each incident impacts on chemicals sector profitability and public perception.

PHOTO; Douglas Mokoena, Process Safety Specialist at Sasol Limited, explained how explosive mixtures may develop in a tank vapour space, and the need to prevent internal tank explosions.

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