Piper Alpha anniversary and Hazards – process safety matters

LPBcover261.inddThis week we have been looking back, thirty years ago to the day, to arguably the world’s biggest offshore oil disaster – Piper Alpha. The devastating incident killed 167 people. Only 61 survived and were left with serious injuries and trauma.

Our friends at The Chemical Engineer have been sharing Piper Alpha Perspectives all this week, where chemical engineers and process safety professionals from around the globe have been sharing their personal views on the tragedy. You can read them here. 

In addition, our Loss Prevention Bulletin has published a special issue to mark the 30th anniversary.
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The anniversary reminds us that process safety matters, it still matters, and it will continue to matter for as long as the process and hazard industries continue to exist. It matters because we all have a duty to ensure that people return from work in the same state they attended – safe.

This is why the sharing of knowledge is critical in our industry.

IChemE helps to support the sharing of knowledge through the IChemE Safety Centre (ISC), which provide resources such as interactive case studies; journals such as Process Safety and Environmental Protection (PPSE) and the Loss Prevention Bulletin; expert networks such as our Safety and Loss Prevention Special Interest Group; dedicated medals that recognise excellence in process safety, such as the Franklin Medal and the Lees Medal; relevant training courses, partnerships with international process safety centres such as the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center; and and by qualifying Professional Process Safety Engineers.

IMG_9315In addition to all of this, our Hazards conference – held annually in the UK and Australia and every two years in South East Asia – is our flagship event for sharing process safety knowledge.

Hazards 28 took place in May, with Hazards Australasia being brought to a close just last week. Here’s a recap of both conferences, and a sneaky peek at some of the key talks.

Continue reading Piper Alpha anniversary and Hazards – process safety matters

Think you have a construction contract? Well, think again.

For chemical engineers working as contractors in the design and construction of a plant, your contract is key to ensuring that your rights are protected. However, the lines are often blurred when it comes to which activities are covered by the Construction Act and which aren’t.

The Construction Act (also known as the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act) came into force in 1998. It fundamentally changed the nature of contracts in the construction industry, through the introduction of statutory implied terms regarding payment and rights to adjudication. These terms were introduced to address concerns that unfair payment practices were contributing to a high level of insolvencies in the construction sector.

What is a construction contract?

Now, if you are working on a new plant or structure, you should have a contract in place. Whether this is a construction contract as defined by the Construction Act (a contract for the carrying out of construction operations), depends upon the nature of works.

It’s in the definition of construction operations where confusion can arise as a number of activities within key industries are excluded.

What activities are excluded?

Drilling for, or the extraction of, oil and natural gas is explicitly excluded as a construction operation. Certain activities in relation to nuclear processing, power generation and the production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil, gas or steel are also all excluded from the ambit of the Construction Act.

So what?

Continue reading Think you have a construction contract? Well, think again.