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Chemical plant safety, environmental protection, sustainability, government regulations

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Sustainability, energy efficiency, green chemistry

U.S. government agencies, regulations and laws

As in other fields, use of the acronyms in parentheses below tends to identify you as someone who knows about these important matters

·         Integrated Risk Information Service (IRIS)

·         Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

·         Emergency Planning and Public Right to Know Act (EPCRA)

·         Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)

·         Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

·         Clean Air Act (CAA) 

·         National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)

·         National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)

·         Clean Water Act (CWA)

·         Occupational Safety and Health Act (same acronym)

·         Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM)

·         OSHA and EPA Process Safety Management Requirements: A Practical Guide for Compliance

·         The Whistleblower Protection Program

·         Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

·         Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) Rules for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Non-U.S. regulations

With global commerce, companies often must also follow laws and regulations established by non-U.S. governments and organizations.  For example:

Non-governmental safety codes and standards

Often recognized in governmental regulations

Pollution control and environmental protection

Design for Safety

Operate for Safety

·         52 on-line publications (search “Center for Chemical Process Safety”)

·         Process Safety Beacons

·         Glossary of terminology

·         Process Safety Progress  On-line journal with excellent research papers.

HAZOP (HAZard and OPerability) and Risk Assessment studies   

Software, training, consulting and facilitation are available commercially and can be found on-line.  Simulators such as HYSYS, particularly in the dynamics mode (varying with time), can be quite useful in determining the influence of deviations from specified flow rates, compositions, temperatures, pressures, etc.  They can also be used to test the effectiveness of control systems to automatically compensate for these deviations without relying on the intervention of a human operator.

Reactor safety

Fires, explosions, chemical reaction hazards, toxicity

·         Avoid:

·         A mixture containing a combustible material and oxygen between the upper and lower flammability limits (see below), taking into account pressure, temperature, and oxygen concentration.

·         A combustible stream from a condenser at a temperature above its flash point .

·         Formation of a pyrophoric reaction product, such as iron maleate from the reaction of maleic acid with iron.

·         Perry's pp 26-51 to 26-72. 

·         Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials Complete and up-to-date source of the fire hazard properties of flammable liquids, gases and volatile solids in air at 1 atm.  National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 2001 (ISBN 0877654735; $125)

·         Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (CRC): page 16-13 and following in the 87th edition.

·         “Flammability Characteristics of Combustible Gases and Vapors,” by Michael G. Zabetakis, Bulletin 627, Bureau of Mines, US Department of the Interior (1965).  Excellent (but old) book on flammability of combustible gases and vapor: Extensive collection of data on flammability limits, including plots of influence of oxygen-nitrogen ratio, pressure, temperature.  Here is Appendix A, which contains limits of flammability and autoignition temperature for many compounds in air at 1 atm. 

·         “Limits of Flammability of Gases and Vapors,” by H.F. Coward and G.W. Jones, Bulletin 503, Bureau of Mines (1952). A report preceding the above that also tabulates flammability limits in oxygen and nitrogen oxides, as well as the oxygen percentages below which no mixture is flammable using nitrogen or carbon dioxide as diluents. 

·         Extended Le Chatelier's formula for mixtures (includes influence of dilution with an inert gas such as carbon dioxide). 

·         Review of methods for mixtures

·         Prediction of the flash point of single components and mixtures

·         Appendices in Understanding Explosions

·         T-dependence of LFL  Tables of LFL for this paper

·         "Fire Hazards in Industry," Norman Thomson, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN 141750563X (2002) ebook

·         Selection of flame arrestors

·         Pressure release in fires

·         Handling Flammable Liquids (control of electrostatic hazards)

·         Improved safety of LNG terminal by dynamics modeling with HYSYS

·         Gas Explosion Handbook   

·         Explosion Hazards in the Process Industries

·         Understanding Explosions 

·         Handbook of Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles for Oil, Gas, Chemical, and Related Facilities

·         Avoiding Static Ignition Hazards in Chemical Operations (from the AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety)

·         Power Point presentation on methods to avoid explosions

·         Deflagration and Detonation Arresters

·         Emergency Relief System Design Using DIERS Technology  - The Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems (DIERS) Project Manual  

·         High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems

·         Using Instrumented Systems for Overpressure Protection

·         Hazard of relief valve and rupture disk in series ; Relief valves ; Relief valves for supercritical fluids

·         Dust Explosions in the Process Industries

·         Avoiding explosions in dust collectors

·         Minimum Inerting Concentration for Dusts

·         Hazard Analysis for Dust-Handling Operations

·         On-line chemical reaction predictor for mixtures of more than 6,000 common hazardous chemicals.

·         Essential Practices for Managing Chemical Reactivity Hazards  

·         How to handle reactive materials

·         Bretherick's Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards  Ref 660.2804 B844h4

·         Screening for Chemical Reactivity Hazards

·         Evaluation of reactive chemical hazards

·         Patty's Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology

·         Patty's Toxicology

·         Sax's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials  Ref 604.7  S272d9

·         Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens

·         Toxic properties of chemicals

·         Toxicity of chemicals in air

·         DoT Office of Hazardous Materials Safety

·         Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances

·         NIOSH Databases and Other Resources

·         EPA Chemical Fact Sheets

·         DDT and malaria.  A New Home for DDT.  The Case for DDT

·         Bhopal  20 years later

Disclaimer: The material on these pages is intended for instructional purposes by Clarkson University students only.  Neither Clarkson University nor Professor Wilcox are responsible for problems caused by using this information.


Last updated March 16, 2016.  Comments and corrections should be sent to Professor William R. Wilcox


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