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Terminal News

Proving process safety at chemical plants

Proving process safety at chemical plants
Operating processes at chemical plants safely is of the upmost importance.

‘It’s no good saying ‘we’ve been operating this process for 20 years, so we know it is safe’’, says Dr Caroline Ladlow, safety services manager at Kindlow Safety Services.

‘You need to prove why you think it is safe and this includes any potential maloperations as well as the normal process.’

Process safety testing involves mimicking what happens during a chemical reaction on a plant, but at a laboratory scale, be it the normal process or what happens if there is a maloperation or potential runaway reactions.

Kindlow Safety Services provides process safety testing to define the characteristics of chemical reactions and their safe processing parameters by way of process hazard investigation. These tests help companies establish their basis of safety for a process plant.

The company utilises various different testing methods, which include differential scanning calorimeter, carius tubes, isothermal calorimetry and adiabatic calorimetry.

Dr Ladlow adds: ‘If you have the data, you know what you are dealing with and you can put appropriate measures in place if required and define the Basis Safety for your process. There are still too many plants in operation using the outdated naive concept that laboratory testing isn’t necessary.’

All test methods are in line with the latest industry best practice and regulations in the UK and the company can also offer solutions and guidance to ensure that every process that results in a chemical reaction is safe.

‘As our origins are from within industry, we are not just a testing house. We work with our clients to provide solutions for their particular process. We have a flexible approach and wherever possible adapt the experiments to mimic the plant process rather than make the process fit the standard test.’

As technology and industry knowledge evolves, so too does the process safety testing process.

‘As technology develops, the measures that industry can use to ensure safe operations of their processes becomes more sophisticated and our testing also evolves to take this into account.’

Dr Ladlow will be talking more about process safety testing and looking at previous incidents in the UK on the morning of the first day of ChemUK 2019. For more information visit