Guide to Process Safety
Process safety needs to be considered separately from personal or occupational safety. The latter considers such issues as slips, trips and falls along with equipment safety such as machine guards or extract systems to minimise exposure to dangerous products. Accidents involving personal safety tend to occur frequently but often have little consequence. Conversely process safety incidents tend to happen infrequently but can often have catastrophic results when things go wrong. Typical examples of process safety incidents include rapid overpressure events in process plant arising from dust, gas or vapour explosions, detonation or deflagration of highly energetic materials, rapid decomposition of thermally unstable substances or mixtures and runaway exothermic chemical processes. The result of any of these events going out of control range from insignificant to catastrophic and they can result in death or serious injury, loss of manufacturing plant, unwelcome media attention and large financial losses.