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Process Safety

Process Safety and Combustion Safety are two disciplines which involve insuring that process equipment is designed with the necessary safeguards to eliminate or reduce the risk, reduce the consequences, and reduce the probability that equipment will be damaged /destroyed by fire or explosion, when under pressure (vacuum) or over pressure.

While the emphasis is placed on safeguarding equipment and processes rather than personnel safety, it can be readily seen that personnel safety is greatly enhanced when risks to the process equipment have been wisely considered and the proper safeguards put in place.

There are four key elements that one needs to consider when implementing a safe practice program in their facility.

Key Elements:

1) Technical Risk Assessment

Prior to the construction of a new installation or when making major modifications to an existing process system, a Technical Risk Assessment is an invaluable tool and should be completed. A proper assessment will define:

a) The major technical safety hazards, i.e. fire, explosion, over and under pressure etc.
b)The appropriate safety measures, i.e. Safety relief valves, venting, overflow protection, electrical classification, etc.

2) Safe Practice Design

The level of protection required must then be based on laws, regulations, good engineering practices and experience. This means adhering to proper welding procedures, the proper sizing of safety devices, using the necessary pipefitting specifications and a whole host of other considerations.

Once a "safe” process system is in place, periodic inspection of the safeguard devices because a "must”. What good is providing an expensive safety device to protect a valuable asset if the device is never checked to see that it will function when it is needed?

3) Inspection & Maintenance Program

A good inspection program should be set up to include physical inspection on all process related equipment on a set frequency. Insuring regular maintenance is performed as specified.

4) Documentation

It is also important that documentation be kept and maintained as this will certainly help in a court of law if a serious process failure ever requires the reporting to and intervention of the various government agencies.

In closing, it is recommended that industries that have process & combustion equipment in their facility have a "safe practice” program in place. Such a program can greatly reduce/prevent the risk of consequence to equipment and personal safety.

Next Steps: For more information call:

Mark or Randy at (613) 546-6663