Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chemical Safety and Security

One of the blogs that I follow is The author provides some interesting insights into chemical process safety; an area that was one of my principal foci while I worked in the chemical industry. Earlier this week he published a brief overview of the CFATS process. This would have been enough to get me to review his posting, but he went one step further and was kind enough to put my name (with a link to this blog) in the post as a reference for ‘detailed information on Chemical Security’. Many authors (my self included) have attempted to briefly summarize the CFATS process. I do believe that Dr. Saraf has produced one of the better very-short (<600 words) summaries that I have seen of this complex topic. As must be expected with such a short treatment, he does gloss over many of the details of the subject. He covers that shortcoming with links to a variety of primary sources (and this blog of course). All in all, for his process safety audience, he does a good job. What is more important that the quality of the summary in this posting is that he is bringing the discussion of chemical facility security to the process chemistry safety community. While the expertise of the security community is important in developing adequate security plans, a detailed knowledge of process chemistry is just as important. Understanding what process upsets can lead to catastrophic consequences is as critical as developing an adequate perimeter barrier plan. Facilities need to put together a security team with a wide variety of backgrounds; much the same way that they put together their process safety teams. In fact, it would not be unreasonable to task the process safety teams that deal with the facility COI to provide support to the facility security team. Since the vast majority of COI are taken from the PSM or RMP chemical lists, there is likely to be a readily identifiable core of chemical subject matter experts available to advise the security people. I hope that we will see more chemical security discussions in Dr. Saraf’s blog. And I hope that some of his readers find their way to this blog; they will certainly be welcome.

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