We often highlight how advancements in technology enable digital transformation initiatives to drive improvements in production, reliability and sustainability. But what about safety? In an AIChE recorded webinar, Digital Innovations for Improving Safety in Chemical Plants, Emerson’s Michael Machuca and Marty McDonough highlight was to drive safety improvements for this important industry.
Michael and Marty discussed innovations to improve occupational safety, containment safety, process safety and functional safety. Safe operations that also complies with all regulatory requirements protects the surrounding communities, avoids safety incidents, protects plant personnel, protects the environment and maintains the company’s financial health.
Layers of protection for process safety risk mitigation is essential and includes protections such as basic process chemistry & components, process design, staff training & procedures, equipment maintenance & monitoring practices, basic process control & alarm management, safety shutdown systems, and relief systems. Digitalization can address all but the first two protections listed above.
12 specific areas of focus for safety include:
- Functional safety via proof testing
- Personnel location awareness
- Pump health monitoring
- Flame & gas detection
- Corrosion & erosion monitoring
- Automated sampling
- Process safety via advanced process diagnostics
- Remote connectivity
- Eye wash & safety shower monitoring
- Pressure relief device monitoring
- Automated operator rounds
- Tank safety
From an occupational safety perspective, location technology can be used to create designated work zones to keep contractors safe and efficient, it can also be used to create known zones around hazardous locations. For example, a contractor may only have access to certain areas of the facility based on their work permit or for instance identified personnel may require certain training or personnel protective equipment (PPE) for specific areas.
Another use case for location awareness technology is for safety mustering in the event of an emergency or drill. You can know that your personnel are safe and accounted for at designated muster points. If they are not at those designated muster points, their location will be known so that assistance can be more quickly provided. Today most muster events are a very manual process once you reach a muster point you must either manually check in with a badge or find the appropriate supervisor to check in with.
Finally, quickly dispatch emergency responders to known locations in the event a person has fallen or become injured. Today a person may become injured and if alone they must wait for an unknown amount of time for another person to enter their area for help.
Watch the recorded webinar and follow some of the links above for more on solutions for containment safety, process safety, and functional safety. Visit the Chemical Industry section on Emerson.com for more on the technologies and solutions to drive your digital transformation initiatives.