Educating a safety culture (Day 26)

Burning buildingImprovements in process safety education should never stand still, so it was good to hear from one of IChemE’s members based in the US this week, Deborah Grubbe, who contacted me about the development of some new technical software called The PSM eBook.

The eBook was commissioned by the chemical engineering team at Purdue University in the US. They decided to introduce process safety management more formally into the undergraduate curriculum.

The result is a user-friendly learning tool that can be used as reference or refresher training in industry, as well as a text book for engineering and technology students.

It also has the potential to improve safety in university laboratories.

The eBook has 34 chapters in three sections titled Hazard Identification, Analyzing Hazards, and Managing Risk.

The process safety eBook integrates audio voice overlays, reference files, discussion questions and useful web-links. Quizzes (essay and multiple-choice) and exams are built-in and help measure comprehension, and in-progress and outcome metrics can be collected at the professor’s desktop.

It is remarkable to think that process safety has not always been a staple part of the undergraduates’ education. Thankfully, that is all changing, driven by the industry itself, and the requirements of organisations like the GB Health and Safety Executive, US Chemical Safety Board and US Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

Despite these positive steps process safety continues to haunt the chemical and process industries. IChemE’s informal monitoring has tracked over 230 reported accidents in 2014, killing over 600 and injuring 770 more.

We need to do more to reduce this worrying level of accidents. Tools like The PSM eBook are a positive step, and with its capacity to reach new audiences across the web, has the potential to become a valuable addition to process safety management.

If you have an interesting product or initiative, please contact me. Thanks for reading.