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Implementing Effective Safety Processes

Integrated Safety and Process Controls for the Speciality Chemicals Sector

| Author / Editor: First appeared in PROCESS India June 2013 / Dominik Stephan

Automated control systems ensure that manufacturers meet stringent safety guidelines and minimize any incidence of contamination
Automated control systems ensure that manufacturers meet stringent safety guidelines and minimize any incidence of contamination (Picture: Rockwell Automation)

There is an obvious necessity to have safety and process control processes in place to prevent hazardous situations in specialty chemical industries. These systems, however, are expensive and need to be upgraded depending on industry standards. This article takes a look at the current trend of integrating these technologies onto one platform, to ensure efficiency and cost savings.

Safety is not a new issue for specialty chemical manufacturers, but industry standards, such as IEC 61511, include specific performance and lifecycle criteria that quantify system reliability through failure rates. These failure rates are based on three key criteria: Fault detection, Fault tolerance and Probability of Failure on Demand (PFD), which quantifies dangerous undetected failures.

Risk assessment processes defined within these standards typically take a lifecycle approach in clarifying how to implement an effective process to identify hazards.

Take the Hazard Analysis Into Your Process Design

This is where the Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) analysis often plays an important role in the process design. Central to the HAZOP is assessing the risk associated with the hazard. Unlike machinery assessments, risk assessments in specialty chemical applications employ a vaster, more encompassing focus, owing to the potential for accidents to impact a much wider area, such as an entire facility or community. Once the different hazards have been

identified, the next step is to determine a way to help reduce the risk within those hazards to a tolerable level. An effective way, for instance, to reduce risk is through Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA). The method starts with data developed in the HAZOP and accounts for each identified hazard by documenting the initiating cause and the protection layers that prevent or mitigate the hazard.

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