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Enhancing The Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Curriculum With An Industrial Process Safety Approach

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovations in the ChE Laboratory

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.556.1 - 13.556.28



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Paper Authors


Bruce Vaughen Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Visiting Assistant Professor
Chemical Engineering Department
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, CM55
Terre Haute, IN 47803

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Enhancing the Under gr aduate Chemical Engineer ing Cur r iculum with an Industr ial Pr ocess Safety Appr oach


This paper summarizes the industrial process risk analysis approach that was used to enhance a chemical engineering unit operations laboratory, training the students about process safety in an inherently low-risk environment. The approach is based on more than ten years of industrial process hazards analysis experience, which includes assessing for process-related hazards and reducing process-related risks. Before the students began the experimental phase of their laboratory project, they documented that they understood the potential hazardous events related to their project. The students completed a series of Project Risk Analysis (PRA) check sheets which listed both the hazards addressed in the OSHA Process Safety Management standard (i.e., fire, explosion, and toxic release) as well as other area and personnel safety-related hazards (e.g., noise, utilities, etc.). Then the students evaluated the risks of these consequence versus likelihood risk matrix, with the consequences, the likelihood, and the risk qualitatively ranked as low, medium, or high. Before running their experiments, the students documented that the risks had been addressed and were reduced as much as is practical. They noted the design and implementation of any engineering controls, any administrative controls, and, if needed, any required personal protective equipment (PPE). The students documented awareness of potential hazards in their surroundings by documenting an area tour, as well. Whether the students continue onto graduate school or begin their careers at a plant site, this approach provides them with awareness tools that will help them ensure their safety when working in their new and potentially hazardous environment.

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to describe a series of process hazards and risk analysis check sheets that were incorporated into a section of an undergraduate chemical engineering laboratory course. These new laboratory check sheets provide the students with an approach and tool for analyzing and documenting risks to ensure that they will safely handle hazardous materials and manage hazardous processes. The check sheets were developed from work that is required for high-risk industrial hazardous processes regulated under the OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) standard 1910.119.1 They capture and document the qualitative elements of the detailed industrial process safety approach and help train the students on safety in an inherently low-risk environment.

This paper is divided into four major sections. The first section summarizes a literature review of hazard and risk assessments used in unit operations laboratories. The second section describes the risk evaluation procedure used to ground the project teams on common safety terminology. The third section describes the protocol and the Process Risk Analysis (PRA) check sheets that are filled out by the students during each stage of their laboratory project. The check sheets are a ir scope and its experimental design to issuing their final report. The fourth section describes some of project experiences, including key safety-related learnings

Vaughen, B. (2008, June), Enhancing The Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Curriculum With An Industrial Process Safety Approach Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3242

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