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Integrating Process Safety Into The Unit Operations Laboratory

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.357.1 - 3.357.11

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Paper Authors

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Anton Pintar

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

Session 2213

INTEGRATING PROCESS SAFETY INTO THE UNIT OPERATIONS LABORATORY A.J. Pintar Department of Chemical Engineering Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 49931


Chemical process safety has been an integral part of the unit operations laboratory course at Michigan Technological University since 1982. The students are directly involved with the safety program, which is called “PAWS” for “Prevent Accidents With Safety”. The main goals of PAWS are to take a positive approach to safety and to make the students responsible for their own safety and for the safety of those around them.

One student group serves as the Safety Committee for each experimental cycle. The Safety Committee inspects the laboratory at the beginning and at the end of each operating day, monitors the safety of the laboratory, and conducts the Safety Meeting for that cycle. The Safety Meeting consists of a review of any unsafe acts or safety incidents that occurred, a report on the results of the safety inspections, a presentation on an assigned safety topic, showing of a relevant videotape, and class discussion.

The laboratory is an ideal setting for exposing the student to industrial safety practices. All the OSHA regulations (PSM, Management of Change, Lock Out, and the Right-to-Know Laws) are fully implemented in the laboratory. The laboratory is operated as though it were an industrial pilot plant. The students encounter inerting procedures, bonding and grounding, NEC classified areas, safety interlocks, and safety overrides when running the Process Simulation and Control Center (PSCC) experiments.

The students should be well prepared to deal with the types of safety situations that they will encounter in the chemical process industry.


Chemical process safety is a focus of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University (MTU). The department has been at the forefront of education in chemical process safety (Pintar, Hubbard and Crowl, 1993; Crowl, Pintar, et al., 1994). Chemical engineering students at MTU receive intensive safety training in the Unit Operations Laboratory during their senior year. This safety program was started in 1982 (Pintar, 1983 and 1985; Pintar, Hubbard and Crowl, 1993); note that this is well before the Bhopal Disaster, which resulted in nationwide concern about chemical process safety. The students also take a required course, “Chemical Process Safety,” during their junior year. This safety course was first introduced in 1987 as an elective course and became a required course in 1991.


Pintar, A. (1998, June), Integrating Process Safety Into The Unit Operations Laboratory Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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