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What Should Every Graduating Chemical Engineer Know About Process Safety and How Can We Make Sure that They Do?

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Broad Perspectives on the Chemical Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1729.1 - 26.1729.18



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Paper Authors


W. David Harding University of New Haven

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W. David Harding is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Accreditation in the Tagliatela College of Engineering (TCoE) at University of New Haven. He has more than twenty years of academic experience after spending nine years in chemical manufacturing and environmental consulting. He has been an active participant in the Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral Curriculum (MEFSC) efforts in TCoE and the Program to Integrate Technical Communication Habits (PITCH) initiative.

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Brian Harding Texas A&M University

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Brian Harding is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University. His advisor is Dr. M. Sam Mannan in the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center. His main research topic is the use of Decontamination Foam for Chemical Spill Containment. He has also worked on a variety of different safety related projects such as the investigation team for the ammonium nitrate explosion in West Texas and the use of RFID for corrosion detection in pipelines.

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Peter C. Montagna University of New Haven

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Peter Montagna is head of the Henkel Corporation Adhesives Division Audits & Assessments program and an adjunct instructor at the University of New Haven. Henkel Corporation is a division of Henkel KgAA, which manufactures soaps, detergents, cosmetics and adhesives for a wide variety of industries and consumers throughout the world. As Head of SHE Audits & Assessments, Peter is responsible for developing and implementing an auditing program for all Adhesives manufacturing, warehouse and laboratory sites throughout the world. The program is focused on compliance with corporate, business unit and regional SHE requirements.

Peter has taught the Chemical Process Safety course at the University of New Haven since its re-introduction in 2011. Prior to that, he was the adjunct instructor for the capstone design course at UNH from 2001 through 2004.

Peter holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and Yale University, and is a Certified Safety Professional, Certified Professional EHS Auditor and Certified EHS Trainer. He is a board member for the Auditing Roundtable, a professional organization dedicated to the development and professional practice of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) auditing.

Throughout his career, Peter has focused on process safety and its principles. He has expertise in Process Safety Management and extensive knowledge of health and safety regulations, industry standards and practices pertaining to chemicals manufacturing.

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What should every graduating chemical engineer know about process safety and how can we make sure that they do?This paper will present an overview of critical topics that all graduating chemical engineeringstudents should know regarding the “hazards associated with these processes” as specified by theABET program specific criteria for Chemical Engineering.i The paper draws onrecommendations from recognized leaders in the area of chemical process safety, typical topicscovered in textbooks on the subject, and a review of program requirements at several ChemicalEngineering programs. The paper will present various strategies to satisfy the ABET programspecific criteria.A review of safety modules produced by SACHE for use in Chemical Engineering programsyields the following popular topics:ii 1) process safety management, 2) inherently saferprocesses/design, 3) runaway reactions, 4) chemical reactivity hazards and material properties, 5)pressure relief and venting, 6) explosion hazards, 7) chemical transportation and handling, and 8)process hazard analysis and risk analysis. These same or similar topics are discussed to varyingdegrees in popular textbooks used in Chemical Engineering senior design courses, texts such asthose by Turton et al.iii, and Towler and Sinnottiv. There are also a few specialized texts that areused in courses dedicated to chemical process safety and other related areas such as those of Rayand Reiskev, Crowel and Louvarvi, and CCPSvii.The chemical engineering curriculum is often packed with required courses in the engineeringsciences, unit operations, laboratory experiences and capstone design. While one commonapproach to fulfilling the ABET requirements is to offer a dedicated course in process safety,many programs find it difficult to fit a three credit course into their curriculum. A furtherdisadvantage of a dedicated course for all students is the compartmentalization that comes with aseparate courseviii. Ideally the concepts of process safety should be covered in context within avariety of courses. Integration of SACHE modules is one possible way to achieve this context.For example, in a Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design course a SACHE module on runawayreactions should be discussed. When coupled with a unit operations laboratory safety programsuch as described by Vaughenix this can be an effective approach. A separate one or two creditprocess safety course can also be used to cover critical concepts that may not integrate well intoother courses. Some specific examples including the approach at _______ will be described. Referencesi, Program Criteria for Chemical, Biochemical,Biomolecular, and Similarly Named Engineering Programsii, Complete list of SAChE Products by Course Categoryiii Turton, R., R.C. Bailie, W.B. Whiting, J.A. Shaeiwitz, D. Bhattacharyya, Analysis, Synthesis,and Design of Chemical Processes, 4th Ed., Prentice Hall, 2012.iv Towler, G., R. Sinnott, Chemical Engineering Design: Principles, Practice, and Economics ofPlant and Process Design, 2nd Ed., Elsevier 2008.v Asfahl, C. Ray, and David W. Rieske. Industrial Safety and Health Management. 6th ed.Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Crowl, Daniel A., and Joseph F. Louvar. Chemical Process Safety: Fundamentals withApplications. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2011.vii Center for Chemical Process Safety, Guidelines for Fire Protection in Chemical,Petrochemical, and Hydrocarbon Processing Facilities, AIChE, 2003.viii Pintar, A. J., Teaching Chemical Process Safety: A Separate Course versus Integration intoExisting Courses, ASEE Annual Meeting 1999, Session 3213.ix Vaughen, B., Enhancing the Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Curriculum with anIndustrial Process Safety Approach, ASEE Annual Meeting 2008, AC2008-322.

Harding, W. D., & Harding, B., & Montagna, P. C. (2015, June), What Should Every Graduating Chemical Engineer Know About Process Safety and How Can We Make Sure that They Do? Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25065

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