02 November 2015

85 fatalities prompts new safety training offer in the US

Human Factors process safety
A survey of media coverage reporting explosions, fires, and serious incidents in the US chemical and process industries, has revealed 85 fatalities and more than 600 serious injuries in 2014. These alarming figures have prompted the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) to bring its widely acclaimed Human Factors in Health & Safety training course to North America for the first time in November.

IChemE, in partnership with the Keil Centre, a leading practice of chartered psychologists and registered ergonomists, currently offers a one-year Human Factors programme. It comprises four intensive two-day events supported by course work, which together form a broad human factors educational programme. The North America roll-out will see the two organisations collaborate with the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Centre to deliver a one day taster of the full programme, in three locations.

Process safety incidents in the US have splashed across television screens around the world in recent years with loss of life, damaged reputations and significant impact on the balance sheet. IChemE’s latest analysis of media reports from 2014 revealed 228 separate incidents across a broad range of industries including oil and gas exploration and production, mining, refining and chemicals, as well as the food, biotech and waste water treatment sectors.

IChemE director of policy, Andy Furlong, said, “Many of these incidents, commanded just a few column inches, but there are 75 report that detail fatalities. Each one is a grim human tragedy that could have been avoided, had the appropriate safety arrangements been in place.”

He went on to say, “A lack of effective management of human factors was a contributory factor to many major accidents including Bhopal, Chernobyl and Piper Alpha. These high profile incidents were widely reported, but sadly they are just the tip of the iceberg. IChemE is working around the world to significantly reduce the risk of future incidents and our human factors training, which has been running in Europe since 2008, is a key part of our work.

The new course is part of the Institution’s extensive process safety offer. IChemE has just launched a new membership grade – Associate Member (Process Safety) – to give process safety specialists the recognition needed to provide continuous improvement in the discipline.

Furlong concluded, "IChemE is an independent, public benefit charity committed to advancing process safety world-wide. Our aim is straightforward. We want cut the number of process safety incidents, thereby ensuring that workers get some safely to their families and loved ones. A better understanding of human factors in health and safety in the process industries can make a big difference.”

The courses will be held on 11 November in Texas, 13 November in California and 16 November in Pennsylvania. Those interested in attending can find out more information and register here.

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