Process safety is absolutely critical in the chemical process industry. As the scale of a process increases, so does the risk of damage to property and harm to individuals. This module covers several basic topics relating to process safety, including methods for occupational hazard control, layers of protection, and regulatory symbols and documentation.
The most effective way to prevent a fire or explosion is to recognize the factors that cause them and know how these factors are controlled in industry.
Process control is the science of maintaining key process parameters in manufacturing processes at their desired set points. Process controls can tune any controllable element of a process including heating and cooling, material flow rates, and pressure, and automatically make adjustments to system conditions to correct any measured deviations back to their expected values, also known as setpoints.
Pressure control is crucial to any process so that machinery does not rupture or break, as well as preventing harm to any employees. Pressure affects temperature and when left unregulated can lead to numerous disastrous consequences. It is essential that pressure is monitored, and that when pressure exceeds the process pressure range there is a relief system in place to mitigate it.
While no reactor can achieve zero risk of fire, explosion, or thermal runaway, many process control methods exist to control pressure, temperature, and other hazards within a reactor.
Temperature control is very important to the application of process safety since it can prevent runaway reactions, fires and explosions, and equipment failure. Process temperature is often monitored by temperature control systems that are in place to achieve and maintain a setpoint temperature.