JOC will no longer appear in my mailbox. I decided to let go of this icon of my earlier years. Organic Process Research & Development will “arrive”, but this time I have taken a web subscription for $40/year. In the interest of domestic harmony, the rate of paper accumulation will drop somewhat.   The trouble with this form of access to the literature is that I can’t take a journal to the local taco joint where I lunch on occasion.

The recent subscription, the Journal of Loss Prevention, is quite interesting. Lots of articles on the dynamics of explosions and fires as well as studies on calamaties, disasters, and general industrial mayhem. I can dig it.

Both imagination and knowledge are an important part of chemical process safety. A process safety person should have a solid chemistry background to grasp what is happening in a reactor or piece of equipment. Imagination comes in to play when trying to anticipate failure modes leading to initiation and propagation of incidents.

It isn’t possible to anticipate all possible failure modes in a chemical process. And not every failure leads to an incident or casualty. What is possible is to collect as much information as you can for a group to do a process hazards analysis.

A properly facilitated group can unearth many possible failure modes and root causes. Once identified, an effort to remove initiation sources or uncouple possible propagation pathways can be made. The first and best goal is to eliminate a hazardous condition. Management and engineering controls should always be secondary to elimination of a hazardous condition. 

AIChE is a great source of information for process safety.

Update:  The web subscription is quite agreeable to use.