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Latest process safety news from the experts in process safety, Chilworth - a DEKRA Company

Chemical Characterisation in the Safe Handling of Acids and Caustics

Employee exposure to corrosives must be evaluated to determine the need for engineering and administrative controls as well as the need for personal protective equipment. The results from injuries can be severe and even fatal. Mists produced by liquids can result in lung damage if inhaled, serious burns or irritation can be the result of accidental contact to the skin or eyes, and lung and skin cancer have been linked to chromic acid. Additional threats to employees are posed by the ease with which many corrosive chemicals ignite, explode or react with incompatible substances.

Acids and caustics have two common key properties; they are all corrosive and are extremely common in industry. Taking the time to ensure that acids and caustics are managed appropriately is critical to process safety. They can damage human tissue, and attack many other materials as well. They can react with metals, producing hydrogen gas which is highly flammable. Many acids and some caustics may have toxic properties, and they may release corrosive vapours at room temperature when in a concentrated form, such as nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Some chemicals turn corrosive when they come into contact with water or humidity; for example, 1, 2-dichloroethane attacks iron and some other metals in the presence of moisture at high temperatures.

Chilworth Technology's Richard Prugh and Jitendra Kumar consider the hazards and the precautions that can prevent serious health risks to workers due to exposure to corrosives.

Originally published in Chemical Engineering World, October 2015.

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The Top Ten Myths of Dust Zoning

Over 70% of powders handled in industry are capable of giving rise to dust explosions under the right conditions. Many of these powders can be found in the food and beverage sector, including sugar, sweeteners, starch, flour, grain, vitamins, amino acids, resins, gums, flavour ingredients, caffeine, and many others. 

A number of these materials have been involved in some of the most devastating dust explosion incidents that have occurred in industry. For example, the 2008 Imperial Sugar dust explosion incident in Port Wentworth, Georgia, was responsible for 14 deaths and 42 serious injuries.

In this article, Chilworth's Simon Gakhar examines some myths that have become established in areas where dust explosion hazards are present, and shares some of his experiences advising clients on mitigating risk.

Originally published in Hazardex magazine, July 2015.

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An Organizations Excellence Must Drive its Safe Operations

When a company takes time to look at its overall process safety, and realises there is significant room for improvement, it cannot simply "decide" to get better. Due to the size and complexity of many company's operations, there has to be a more robust and systematic approach to improving process safety. 

Developing an operational excellence system (OES) is a well-defined method for companies to improve process safety from within the organization. An OES more effectively manages process safety to meet the rising expectations of regulators, shareholders and communities. 

Chilworth Technology's Lisa C Hutto looks at the value of implementing and operational excellence system in the following article.

Originally found in Processing MagazineApril 2015.

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An Easy Method to Design Gas/Vapor Relief System with Rupture Disk

Tank discharge gas/vapor flow problems are frequently encountered in both practice and design. To perform this type of design calculation, the first step is to identify whether the flow is choked or not through a trial-and-error solution of an equation for adiabatic flow with friction from a reservoir through a pipe. Developing a direct method without any trial-and-error to identify a choking condition would be helpful for expediting the flow calculations. This paper presents an easy and quick method to identify the choking of gas flow for an emergency relief system consisting of a rupture disk and vent piping.

Chilworth Technology's Guibing Zhao looks at three case studies for the design of vent piping for rupture disks in the following article.

Originally found in Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 2015.

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Prevent Formation of Ignitable Mixtures

Many chemical makers use flammable and combustable liquids and, thus, face a serious risk of a fire or explosion during the handling, processing and storage of these liquids. If containment is lost, then, depending on the quantity released, local ventilation or draft conditions, ambient temperature and volatility of the liquid; ignition of the vapors and subsequent fire or explosion could result in severe injuries or loss of life and damage to the facility and the environment.

Chilworth Technology's Anand Kenchenpur looks at a variety of techniques that can preclude fire and explosion hazards in the following article.

Originally found in Chemical Processing, April 2015.

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A Need for Change

Recent major incidents in the US have led to an increased awareness of safety issues related to the chemicals industry. The situation has become such that the industry is in “the midst of a safety crisis right now”, and called for an “urgent overhaul” of safety regulations.

Chilworth's David Kaelin looks at proposed changes to OSHA’s process safety management standard in the US in this article.

TCE Magazine, March 2014.

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Managing Ageing Plant Through Risk Based Inspection

Risk Based Inspection (RBI) may be a solution to effectively managing ageing plant and achieving that aspiration of higher productivity through less down time.

Chilworth's Wahid Azizi gives a real-life example of RBI being used to examine the inspection requirements on a mist eliminator in a sulphonation process.

HazardEx Magazine, September 2013.

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Process Safety - How Do You Measure Up?

The use of process safety performance indicators is on the increase and likely to continue that way.

Chilworth's Wahid Azizi discusses how best to approach implementing a PSPI programme.

The Chemical Engineer Magazine, August 2013.

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Hazard Assessment in the Brewing & Distilling Industries

The UK brewing and distilling industry contributes significantly to the Food and Drink sector, which is estimated to be worth some £80 billion annually and represents around 7% of UK GDP.

Chilworth's Richard Ball discusses how best to assess the hazards inherent to brewing and distilling.

HazardEx Magazine, July 2013.

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Biomass: Energy Remedy or Safety Headache?

Biomass; yet a substantial learning curve is needed for the unwary who simply want to broaden their fuel options.

Chilworth's Mike Merritt discusses how retrofitting coal-fired powerplants to use biomass can bring its own hazards.

The Chemical Engineer Magazine, November 2012.

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