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By Todd Stauffer
There is no doubt significant progress in process safety has taken place with companies and engineers around the globe.

This progress often ends up overshadowed when a process safety accident hits the news.

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Take the December 2007 runaway reaction that led to an explosion at the T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, FL.

The blast killed four people and injured thirty-two.

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Coming out of the incident, one of the recommendations from the Chemical Safety and Hazard and Investigation Board (CSB) was to improve the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum in the U.S.

In 2011, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) officially recognized the role of process safety in chemical engineering education when it updated the requirements for what ends up taught in Chemical Engineering programs.

ABET accreditation provides assurance a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.

The change added a clause, indicating the curriculum should not only include the engineering application of chemistry, physics, and/or biology to the design, analysis and control of processes, but also the hazards associated with those processes.

ABET said:

“The curriculum must include the engineering application of these basic sciences to the design, analysis, and control of chemical, physical, and/or biological processes, including the hazards associated with these processes.” 

U.S. Chemical Engineering Departments began developing curriculum changes to meet this new requirement through the development of a dedicated course and/or incorporating safety into other courses.

Some companies, such as Dow, are collaborating with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) by donating resources to make this a reality.

“Corporate leaders and engineers say they need young engineers who are better trained in process safety when they enter the workforce,” said June Wispelwey, executive director of the AIChE.
Todd Stauffer is the director of alarm management at safety and security certification provider, exida. This was an excerpted blog from the exida website. Click here to read his entire blog.

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