Discussion Central

  • 1.  2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-12-2019 10:38
    Dear Colleagues,

    Would you be so kind as to answer 2 short questions for me:

    1) What percent of your studies was dedicated to safety?
    2) What percent of your working time is dedicated to safety?

    Also feel free to include information about where you studied (and what you studied if not chem. eng.), where you work and what you do, and any of your thoughts about safety. I'll report on the results of this survey at my presentation on the topic of safety in process engineering and education at
    aiche.org/PDSEurope and post them here afterwards. 

    Thanks for sharing!

    K.J. Hecht
    Research Associate
    Otto-von-Guericke University
    Magdeburg, Germany

  • 2.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-12-2019 11:41
    Hi, Kristin.  I don't remember any of my teachers covering safety as a concept in the classroom.  There were cautions about specific threats in the assigned lab work.  I would say <1% on question #1.  Not to date myself or anything, but this would have been in the '80s.

    For question #2, I might not be the intended target of your survey, because I don't work at a plant or in a lab.  I spend most of my working hours playing with data and thermodynamics in order to assess performance or predict outcomes, with a few plant tours sprinkled in.  All of the plant tours include time dedicated to safety and that time could be counted (it would be <1%).  In the desk part of my job, safety is part of the fabric and it would be super hard to estimate how much time I spend looking into it and communicating about it to clients (e.g., Do these results indicate a possible exceedance of LELs?  Is this level of humidity safe for the blades?  Are harmful pollutants being created or released?  Does human inspection make sense when it means entering a confined space?  Should the chemist dispense this material under a hood?  etc.).  ​​


    Kirsten Rosselot
    Process Profiles
    Calabasas, CA United States

  • 3.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-13-2019 10:19

    Being a 50 year AIChE member, none of my college course work included Safety.  Twenty plus years at Monsanto gained considerable on the job training.
    I also had training in DIERS methodology.

    At this time, ABET requires Safety Training in the current Chem E curricula and AIChE provides considerable Safety Training for both professional and student members.

    Sound Professional Ethics requires us all to acquire the necessary knowledge to protect all stakeholders.

    AIChE Webinars also offer the opportunity to keep current on Safety training, as does AIChE's Spring Meeting.

    If you want to continue the dialogue, contact me through AIChE's engage.

    Dave (David R. Eckhardt, PE, FAIChE

    David Eckhardt PE
    Project Manager
    Irwin Engineers
    West Boylston MA

  • 4.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-14-2019 14:09
    Edited by Yogi Paturu 09-14-2019 14:09

    I graduated in May 2019 from Texas Tech. We had a Process Safety course the 2nd semester of Senior year. It covered chemical engineering accidents, process safety problem solving, and SAChE certifications. More so, chemistry and chemical engineering labs had a strong emphasis on safe practices.

    I wonder what percent of chemical engineering programs have a process safety course in curriculum. I imagine there's a trend towards including safety in undergraduate education.

    Another source of safety education was on the job (internships, co-ops, and full-time roles). There's little substitute for the impact safety culture has: beginning morning meetings with a safety topic, observing the role of safety in management of change, and practicing safe behaviors in a potentially harmful environment.

    Hope that helps!

    Yogi Paturu
    Process Automation Engineer
    Invista Inc

  • 5.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-14-2019 15:14
    1)  Maybe 2 hours were dedicated in my undergraduate education (early 2000's) to safety.  I got more of an education talking to my Senior Lab partner who survived Bhopal as a child than I did from my undergraduate studies.
    2) 100% - when working with hazardous chemicals, "safety" is always on the mind.  You can't even walk into your office without thinking about the accountability & entry/exit procedure.   My first internship was a fantastic way to be introduced to process safety and occupational safety fundamentals.  I am indebted to a number of operators, maintenance workers and engineers who invested in my process safety education while I learned "on the job."

    Since graduating, I have been a part of several efforts to try to influence students and young professionals to include process safety in their professional development.  If you are interested in these details, feel free to LinkedIn or privately message me.  AIChE SAChE and Safety & Health Division efforts continue to promote and pursue including process safety in chemical engineering education.  Our community is indebted to many people who have helped steer our campuses towards including PSM (and other safety topics) into our undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum.  I am working with students who have taken SAChE online courses and can describe principles (risk assessment, pressure relief, runaway reaction hazards) that I did not learn until I entered the workforce.  It makes me very optimistic about our future!

    Sarah Eck PE,CCPSC
    Marketing Director
    Midland MI

  • 6.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-17-2019 10:26
    In my department, we embed safety instruction in the curriculum. Students complete the Level 1 SAChE modules in the sophomore Material & Energy Balances course, and have completed all Level 2 and many Level 3 modules by graduation. We hosted a CCPS safety boot camp last year that was well-attended. (Thank you to Covestro for sponsoring.) Safety in chemical process plants is part of our senior chemical process control and chemical process design courses. I, personally, find the animated videos on the Chemical Safety Board website to be thought-provoking and educational, and I can almost always find one that is related to something that we are learning in class. I typically will spend one class period in each course that I teach showing a video from a CSB investigation, discussing the incident, and talking about the value of the CSB in general.

    Valerie Young
    Department Chair
    Ohio University
    Athens OH

  • 7.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 09-29-2019 10:55

    As Chem E graduates move from college to their first job, it is important to be ready to be a "contributing member" of Safety Culture.


    SACHE courses and college course work can teach us:


    1. To identify hazards associated with chemicals
      1. Flammability
      2. Reactivity
      3. Health Hazards (both chronic and acute
      4. Reactions with air and water
    2. How to participate in Process Hazard Analyses, particularly "What If" and "HAZOP"


    As we gain experience, we should gain proficiency and judgement in Safety.  When in doubt have a discussion with

    Either you Team Leader or a peer.  Many safety incidents are caused by factors missed in a PHA.  As needed course

    Work is often beneficial.


    As we gain experience we should probably add the following to our skills:

    1. Human Factors Engineering (humans are the least reliable element in plant operations
    2. Risk Based Safety.  (Several times in my career, I have determined that adding another interlock will not statistically improve safety.

    About 20 years into my career, I had course work in Human Factors and Risk Based Safety (Fault Tree Analysis).

    Both courses added considerable value to my work.


    If you enjoy Safety and Risk Management, consider specializing in this area for the rest of you career.


    Good professional ethics require that we all practice good Safety and Risk Management.


    Dr. Young's Department appears to prepare her students well to be contributing members of a Safety Culture.


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  • 8.  RE: 2 Questions for Practicing Engineers

    Posted 10-21-2019 01:53
    Edited by Kristin Hecht 10-21-2019 01:57
      |   view attached
    It seems most professionals experienced some degree of surprise at the amount of safety knowledge required when starting work, even if it's difficult to quantify how much time we exactly spend working on it (0 & 100% simultaneously). My surveys conducted online as well as to the presentation audience gave an average percentage of working time dedicated to safety of around 30% with a large variation. I was more aware about efforts in Europe to increase the level of safety-training in chemical engineering curricula. I learned from you that a lot has changed with respect to safety training in bachelor study programs in the US since my university days, especially due to the efforts of AIChE and the SAChE training modules and certification. I've attached my presentation slides. Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey both here in the forum and privately.

    K.J. Hecht
    Research Associate
    Otto-von-Guericke University
    Magdeburg, Germany


    Hecht - The Safety Gap.pdf   1.21 MB 1 version