Another One Bites the Dust

I’m pleased to announce that Michelle Murphy of Mica and I will be showcasing our Visual DHA technique this year at the AIChE CCPS Global Conference on Process Safety (Houston April) and IChemE Hazards30 (Manchester May). 

The potential harm and asset damage from a dust explosion have been known for many centuries. A wide variety of materials that can be explosive in dust form exist in many industries, however “knowing” about an issue is not the same as properly understanding and adequately addressing the challenges.

We draw on our complementary experience in DHA application and BowTie implementation to present a novel approach to scenario visualisation and asset management using bowties. 

Just as a conventional HAZOP or PHA subdivides the process into nodes, the DHA breaks the plant into systems which are systematically challenged to determine if explosion or fire hazards exist.

For dusts, this includes identification of competent ignition threats (EN 1127-1, NFPA). Subsequent evaluation is conducted to determine which are prevented and/or mitigated by safeguards specific to each threat and consequence.

Risks are assigned and actions issued as per a normal hazard analysis, however the graphical presentation of the ignition scenarios and safeguards and the illustration of potential ignited particles which can travel and ignite within downstream equipment offers significant communication benefits. This can be particularly helpful in facilities or countries where English and/or Risk are not the primary language or familiar terminology.

We’ll show how BowTies are an effective tool to engage less technical stakeholders and offer a robust framework to assure the health (presence and performance) of the assumed or planned human and hardware controls which must be sustained to provide the necessary risk reduction.

The Visual Dust Hazard Analysis technique can be applied to all jurisdictions where the management of dust hazards is scrutinised. It is consistent with the objectives of US RAGAGEP, the EU ATEX directive, and UK DSEAR regulations. 

In summary, this novel approach evolves analysis into an operational framework to ensure that the ignition risks are better understood and the controls are properly implemented, operated and maintained.