08 July 2016

IChemE offers free safety resources to mark Seveso 40


The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) will mark the 40th anniversary of the Seveso disaster by offering free safety resources to members and non-members. The industrial accident occurred in northern Italy on 10 July 1976. Significant changes to the regulation of sites presenting major accident hazards in Europe were initiated as a result.

Process safety is a major part of the study and practice of chemical engineering. To encourage knowledge transfer and the sharing of good practice, IChemE has made several resources freely available.

These include a download of the second Trevor Kletz lecture. The lecture was delivered by the Honourable Mr Justice Haddon Cave at the 26th Hazards Symposium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Staged annually by IChemE in association with the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Centre, Hazards is Europe’s leading process safety conference.

The lecture examined ‘Lessons from the Nimrod Review’. The RAF Nimrod crash in 2006 was the biggest single loss of life to British service personnel in one incident since the Falklands War – Haddon-Cave, a British High Court judge, led the inquiry that followed.

In his talk, Haddon-Cave describes the technical and human errors that occurred in the lead-up to the crash, and their relevance to the process industries. The lecture was described as ‘outstanding’ by conference delegates.

IChemE’s Director, Andy Furlong said: “The Haddon-Cave lecture was one of the finest plenary talks we have seen at Hazards to date. Here is a man with enormous experience of high-profile accident investigation, the Nimrod crash being just one of them. The manner in which he describes the lessons learned is simply outstanding. IChemE wants to share his wisdom far and wide.”

Other free resources on offer include safety guidance from the IChemE Safety Centre (ISC). Two publications are available, including Process Safety Competency – A Model and Lead Process Safety Metrics – selecting, tracking and learning. Both documents were written by ISC member companies, including ExxonMobil. Rio Tinto, Shell and Worley Parsons.

The competency guidance provides further detail to established work in the area, defining different levels of competency for different roles within an organisation. The metrics guidance focuses on the operational phase of an organisation, helping to develop consistency in process safety metrics to allow for effective benchmarking.

The ISC also launched its ‘Safety Case Studies’ at Hazards 26, developed to improve the way process safety training was delivered in-house. The case studies consist of interactive videos, aimed at tackling hindsight bias. Interactive videos deliver more effective training than before, and can be applied to the day-to-day running of a coal mine, gas plant or tank farm.

IChemE Safety Centre Director, Trish Kerin said: “The Seveso disaster was a clear example of how bad things can get in the absence of good process safety management. It was a terrible incident, and one that affected thousands of people. However, the positive outcome was a significant change in process safety legislation, and a consensus to standardise regulations for the benefit of the chemical industry and the communities it serves. IChemE is marking its 40th anniversary with a reminder to members that process safety matters, it matters to us and it should matter to everyone involved in the high hazard industries.”

IChemE is also promoting the Remembering Bhopal edition of its Loss Prevention Bulletin (LPB), first published in 2014 to commemorate 30 years since the Bhopal gas tragedy. The issue is provided in advance of LPB’s next free anniversary edition, due for publication in October.

The 2016 anniversary issue will reflect on several anniversaries including; 100 years since the Faversham explosion (UK), 50 years since the Feyzin disaster (France), 40 years since Seveso (Italy), and 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (Ukraine) and the Sandoz spill (Switzerland). These incidents all had an impact on process safety thinking and the free publication will reflect on lessons learnt and what is still to be done in the process safety space.

To download the Trevor Kletz lecture, delivered by the Honorable Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, visit: www.icheme.org/haddoncave.

To access the free issue of Loss Prevention Bulletin – Remembering Bhopal, visit: www.icheme.org/lpb

Free process safety guidance from IChemE’s Safety Centre is available at: www.ichemesafetycentre.org

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).