Friday, 28 June 2019

ATEX - Compulsion, Option or Need of the hour?

Let us talk about another misconception which is rooting in the minds of some people.

If I am not European, why should I perform an ATEX risk assessment? It's not applicable in my country, why should I perform modification to the existing equipment and fittings?

All risk assessments should follow the simple hierarchical ‘Three Rules of ATEX/DSEAR’ approach:
  1. Do not have a flammable atmosphere, but if you do...
  2. Do not ignite it, but if you do…
  3. Do not hurt anyone.
ATEX intentions are simply to provide a coherent focus for controlling risks from:
  1. Substances with flammable, explosive and oxidising properties. ATEX also covers Corrosives and compressed gases.
  2. Substances which can create potentially explosive atmospheres
  3. Controlling work activities involving other substances that could create a fire or an explosion
If you are in a country where ATEX/ DSEAR is not applicable, then you can consider this as a good engineering practice that you are reviewing your plants' operations to establish a Basis of Safety for each and every operation.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Dust Explosion in Equalizer 2 - Have you seen it yet?

I am sure if you are a movie enthusiast, you would have already seen Equalizer 2. 

Did you happen to notice Denzel Washington creating a flammable dust cloud? 

The movie market was too saturated with Gas Explosions, so here comes a new type of explosion. The director took full advantage of the shot inside a bakery. 

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Process Safety Strategy - Chemical Reaction Hazard

It has been some time since I wrote my last post. I was on leave for my marriage. I have returned to the office now and I am back with another post on Chemical Reaction Hazards. Many times, I have come across people asking us what steps should be followed for identifying and mitigating the chemical reaction hazards. Today we will be talking on the same.

First, of all, I would like to thank Fauske & Associates LLC (FAI) for their continuous support and for publishing my last blog post on their website. If you have missed the same, you can access it by clicking on the link below

As per the research conducted by Dr Phil Nolan (South Bank University, UK) and Dr John Barton (UK Health and Safety Executive) and graduate students based on data analysis, the following four gaps have contributed equally i.e. 25% each to thermal runaway reactions leading to multiple incidents in past:

  1. Lack of proper understanding of the thermochemistry (heat of reaction) and chemistry (balanced chemical equation)
  2. Insufficient engineering design for reactor heat transfer system
  3. Inadequate control and safety back-up systems including emergency relief systems, process vent, and other engineering controls
  4. Poorly written batch procedures and insufficient operator training.
Concept Sciences Inc. Explosion
Hence, it is imperative to develop a process safety strategy to address these four gaps. A process safety strategy should include the following:

Monday, 11 March 2019

Should set point for Pressure Relieving Device be equivalent to Design Pressure?

Hope all of you are doing well. Today's topic is focusing on the general practice sometimes followed in industry related to the set point of Pressure Relief Devices of process equipment. Many times during PHA, I have come across a general philosophy of keeping the set point of the reactor's pressure relieving devices equivalent to its design pressure. This might be adequate for a non-reactive system. But the question is, is it adequate for a reactive system?

Here, the reactive system is one where there are hazards due to a chemical reaction, including the possibility of decomposition or polymerization or some side reaction, etc. We know based on normal kinetics that the rate of reaction is directly proportional to the temperature which in turn is proportional to pressure. In simple terms, it is said that the rate of a chemical reaction doubles with every 10 deg C rise in the reaction temperature. Hence it can be said that:

Higher set pressure leads to a correspondingly higher "set" temperature (i.e. the relieving temperature).  This, in turn, leads to a higher rate of reaction which results in higher self-heating or higher temperature rise rate (dT/dt i.e. deg C/min) and a higher pressure generation rate (dP/dt i.e. bar/min). This is very important because for a chemically reactive system the required pressure relief area depends directly on the self-heating and pressure rise rates at the relief conditions.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Dust Flash Fire in a hostel - Who said that they don't see a dust explosion at home?

Happy New Year 2019 to all of you!

The Dust Flash Fire incident in Baptist University of Hong Kong has left all of us in shock with immense sadness and a heavy heart. Birthday party went wrong and ended in burning and injuring 12 students.

Five students were having a collective birthday party and were singing around the birthday cake. Someone in the group started throwing flour around, which probably got ignited by the burning candle and the flames reached the ceiling height leaving students with first and second degree burns on arms, legs and face.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Insights of a Dust Hazard Assessment (DHA)

Thank you all for your continuing support on my blog posts. Keep sharing with your friends and colleagues.

We have discussed a lot about dust explosion hazards and the risk to plant. The next question which stands is "How to carry out Dust Hazard Assessment (DHA)?" The intent of this post is for making you aware of how you can carry out a dust hazard assessment or if you have a third party doing it for you, then how to review the DHA report?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Risk Ranking:Essence of any Hazard Analysis

Recently, I was giving training on HAZOP and I got a question "Why do you say that our HAZOP is incomplete without risk ranking? We are doing the study since so long and no auditor or authorities have ever questioned us for the same." 

So this question has made me think about the situation Process Safety is facing. We know that oil & gas has developed more than other sectors including FMCG, Pharmaceutical, Chemical (Bulk & Speciality), etc. with far better standards for performing safety studies including PHAs. So, here I am writing this post to share the importance of risk ranking in any hazard analysis technique.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

When is risk low enough : Risk Acceptance and ALARP

I would like to thank you all for continued interest in the blog posts. Keep reading and do like, share and comment. In this blog, we will be discussing what is the risk acceptance criteria and what is ALARP to define When is the risk low enough.

No activity is entirely free of risk in an industrial plant and hence it is imperative that safety risks are reduced to acceptable levels. The key question that remains is what level of risk is considered to be acceptable? 

Friday, 17 August 2018

Are you aware of the Dust Explosion Hazards in your facility?

I have written some blogs answering questions which I have received during training sessions or by email from our clients. Today I am sharing my experience related to the awareness level of manufacturing companies related to Dust Explosion. 

I made a recent visit as part of a non-profitable project to one of the most widely used Detergent and soap brands in India. As soon as I reached the gate of the plant, it was clear that I have entered a plant which hasn't been too serious about safe operations or safety of employees, as I could see the workers moving without any footwear leaving their feet marks in the raw materials spilled on the floor. There was so much dust and detergent in the air that I could taste detergent on my tongue till the next day of my visit.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Safe Practices for Sulphur Handling

Thanks for overwhelming responses on the recent blog post on Housekeeping and Secondary Dust Explosion & Relief Device Sizing.

I have recently published one of my articles in an Indian Magazine called "Chemical Weekly" in 10th July Edition. Attached below is a copy of the article.

Safe Practices for Sulphur Handling

The purpose of this document is to enable companies to establish reasonable prevention and protection measures, to eliminate or reduce the risks of fire and explosion inherent to handling of sulphur. This document is primarily concerned with the hazards arising from processing of solid sulphur, but also considers the major risks associated with handling sulphur in liquid form.

Hope you will find it useful. Do share the same with your friends and colleagues. Do follow the blog and keep writing to me for any questions and issues on himanshuchichra@gmail.com.