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April 2021

Each year, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) hosts their much-anticipated Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), which is designed to gather professionals in the chemical engineering and process safety industry in order to share knowledge, discuss current challenges and research, and ultimately work together in support of safety in the industry. Our team is pleased to exhibit at this conference that provides such a valuable opportunity to advance process safety practices on a global scale.

Banner for BakerRisk at the virtual spring meeting and GCPS 2021

This event will be held online, which allows you to quickly and easily join presentations and Q&A sessions. We invite you to visit us at our virtual booth (as shown below) where we will be available to speak about our presentations or other process safety related inquiries. Additionally, our booth will provide quick links to videos on hazards demonstrations, downloads of valuable knowledge share resources, and information on BakerRisk services to help you manage your risk exposures.  In addition, find out more about FORTRESS, the turn-key blast resistant building that also provides high hazard protection for thermal radiation, gas ingress, fragments, and extreme weather.

BakerRisk FORTRESS booth at virtual spring meeting and GCPS 2021

An added bonus to visiting our booth is to enter our giveaway! The prize is a free BakerRisk Learning Center course. Choose between our July FSS/QRA course (in person or virtual) or our Hazards Awareness Demo at our WEBTF Test Site; alternatively, take advantage of both with 60% off the bundle.

BakerRisk presentations schedule:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Kristen Graham headshot


Facility Siting – Negotiating the Minefield of “Maximum Credible Event”

3:40 – 4:00 PM (CT)

Session: Facility Siting, Consequence Analysis, and Risk Assessment I

About this presentation:

The purpose of this paper is to provide a case study that compares the results from a consequence-based facility siting study (FSS) limited to a 2-inch release size as the maximum credible event (MCE) versus a risk-based study with a range of release sizes and associated frequencies. The case study includes consideration of consequences based on hazard type (i.e., explosion, flammable and toxic gas, and thermal radiation). The results are intended to highlight potential differences in the building siting decisions made using an FSS performed with a consequence-based approach and a limited MCE (i.e., a 2-inch release) vs. those made with a risk-based approach.

Most recommended practices (e.g., API RP 752) and other FSS guidance documents advise evaluating MCEs for an FSS. However, there can be considerable uncertainty as to what release size constitutes an MCE for the purposes of a consequence-based FSS, and the values used in industry span a considerable range. The MCE release size is heavily influenced by facility and industry history as well as the personal experience of the company subject matter experts. One argument for limiting the MCE in a consequence-based FSS to a 2-inch release is that most accidental releases (i.e., > 95%) are smaller. Another argument that has been suggested is that a 2-inch release size is the largest that provides actionable information upon which siting decisions can be made. However, a number of well-known incidents in industry involve releases larger than 2-inches, which introduces uncertainty as to a reasonable upper-bound for an MCE. The use of a risk-based FSS approach effectively eliminates the decision regarding hole size in relation to the MCE since this approach aggregates the risk of a full range of operational scenarios for a range of hole sizes along with the associated likelihood of failure.

In addition, a risk-based FSS approach can explicitly identify the level risk mitigation needed to meet a required risk level. Alternatively, the results of a consequence-based FSS are normally compared to threshold values at occupied buildings (i.e., explosion pressure & impulse, building damage level, flammable & toxic gas concentration, and thermal radiation), which may not empower the site owner to understand the value of different risk mitigation options across the facility. Based on the MCE scenario(s) employed and the risk or consequence criteria selected, an FSS for a given site may lead to very different conclusions as to which buildings are considered safe and what types of mitigation actions should be taken.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021



“I Didn’t Inhale, and Never Tried It Again.” Proper Handling of Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) Chemicals in Plants and During Transportation.

11:20 AM – 11:40 AM (CT)

Session: Live Dragons – Know Your Process Hazards

About this presentation:

The CCPS Risk Based Process Safety (RBPS) elements, in combination with engineering design considerations, are important for the proper handling of Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) chemicals. Numerous fatalities and serious health effects have occurred in the process industries through personnel exposure to toxic chemicals. A chemical classified as a TIH can be particularly hazardous as the presence of some chemicals cannot be detected through sight or smell. TIH chemicals are widely handled in process units and transported by road, rail, marine, and pipeline. Fatal incidents
involving chlorine (Graniteville SC, 2005), hydrofluoric acid (South Korea, 2012), and methyl mercaptan (MeSH) (La Porte TX, 2014) emphasize the risks of TIH chemicals if they are not handled with a sense of vulnerability and proper care.

This paper discusses the authors’ experiences of applying: (i) good practices for handling TIH chemicals, (ii) a RBPS approach for assessing TIH risks at chemical plants, including loading/unloading (railcars, road tankers, ISO tanks), (iii) use of quantitative methods for TIH transportation risk decision-making, and (iv) real case examples of potential TIH risk reduction strategies.

Michael Moosemiller headshot


Conducting HAZOPs That Are Good and Don’t Just Look Good

11:40 AM – 12:00 PM (CT)

Session: Tutorials in PPSS I: Lack of Attention has Consequences for Process Evaluation

About this presentation:

It is difficult to imagine a time when HAZOP was not so prevalent in the process industry. But there was such a time. When HAZOPs first came about, they were performed much differently than they are today. Fast forward a few decades, and much has been gained in the implementation of HAZOP studies – and much has been lost. This paper gives a 40-year perspective on the history of HAZOP approaches and tools, including 32 years of the author’s personal experience on how HAZOPs go right or go wrong. The pros and cons of the methods that are currently in use and misuse in different situations are discussed. The overall theme is to drive at the core of what constitutes a truly “good” HAZOP, rather than just performing a HAZOP that only looks good.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

David Wechsler


Novel Approach to Developing Hazardous Area Classification Boundaries

11:40 AM -12:00 PM (CT)

Fires, Explosions, and Chemical Reactivity II

About this presentation:

This paper addresses the need to refine the methodology to develop documented reliable and cost effective HAC contours. The paper will provide an alternate approach for developing HAC boundaries at a fraction of the cost of the previous methodologies described. A cost and time estimate comparison will be provided for the different approaches, as well as an estimate on the capital cost that can be saved for operators who choose a different approach to HAC.

Performing a hazardous area classification (HAC) analysis, also known as electrical area classification, has long been a crucial part of hazard prevention practices across facilities that handle flammable/ combustible material. These terms represent the same work process, but are often confusing depending on the industry. Various organizations such as NFPA and API in the United States and ATEX and IEC in Europe and Asia provide guidance on how a HAC analysis should be performed and the basic distances to define the HAC boundaries. In the United States, OSHA mandates a documented HAC analysis be performed to classify locations depending on the properties of the flammable gas, flammable liquid–produced vapor, combustible liquid–produced vapors (aka flammable/combustible material) that could be present, and the likelihood that a flammable or combustible concentration or quantity is present at these facilities.

Point-source analysis leads to a more accurate HAC boundary that is shaped by the specific process equipment and equipment layout rather than encompassing an entire process block. Considering all equipment that handles a flammable/combustible material is a costly endeavor and in some cases such analysis is not needed to produce a reliable HAC contour to reflect appropriate potential ignition mitigations and controls addressed by Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (RAGAGEP).

Adam Connor headshot


DHA Findings – so You’re out of Compliance, What Now?

3:00 PM – 3:20 PM (CT)

Session: You Have Completed Your DHAs – Now What?

About this presentation:

Dust Hazard Analyses (DHAs) are typically performed per NFPA 652 standards using either a prescriptive or performance-based approach, with the prescriptive approach being the most common starting point. The effort and number of resources, as well as level of expertise required to perform the prescriptive approach, are far less significant than for the performance-based approach; however, the prescriptive approach can lead to a considerable number of findings that need to be addressed. BakerRisk has performed hundreds of DHAs and investigated numerous dust related accidents. This paper will discuss possible resolutions that are both compliant and financially/operationally practical for some of the most commonly identified DHA findings:

  1. Poor Housekeeping – How to establish and audit an effective housekeeping program.
  2. Incorrect Electrical Classification – How to determine when electrical classification upgrades of improperly rated electrical equipment is critical.
  3. Insufficient Deflagration Protection – How to ensure the structural integrity of equipment susceptible to internal deflagrations with existing explosion protection.
  4. Lack of Exclusion Zones – What should an exclusion zone look like and how to ensure it is effective.

Understanding the implications of the different requirements of the relevant NFPA standards can provide for a balanced and economically justified approach to managing hazards while meeting compliance with the standards.