Friday, October 1, 2010

Formal Definition of IST

One of the complaints that we have heard over the last couple of years every time there is a political discussion about inherently safer technology (IST) as a security tool is that there is no clear definition of IST, what it incorporates, how it is measured, or how it is applied in a real world situation. Last year the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) asked the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCSP) to resolve this issue of a technical definition.

Today, the CCSP provided a link to the final report produced in response to the CSAC’s request. This is not the first public viewing of the report. “The Final Draft Definition and Discussion of Inherently Safer Technology were presented at the Global Congress on Process Safety, which was held in San Antonio, Texas on March 22, 2010.” (pg F1) It was also briefly touched upon at the 2010 Chemical Sector Security Summit (Dr. George Famini, Inherently Safer Technology - A Technical/Working Definition ).

Doing a first glance at this document, it is clear that it will require multiple blog posting to discuss the definition, how it was arrived at, and its implications for both process safety and process security. For a start I want to point my readers at the document and leave them with the executive summary of the document. Next week, after I’ve had a chance to read and digest this lengthy document, I’ll add my two-cents worth.

Executive Summary

“At the request of the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC), Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), a directorate of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), has completed a project to provide a technically based definition of inherently safer technology (IST). CSAC requested that an independent technical organization review the literature and common practice related to design of Inherently Safer Processes, and lead a process to develop a technically-based definition of IST. CCPS reviewed available literature and convened a series of workshops of process safety experts to develop a definition of IST. Along with the definition is included brief discussion of the concepts contained in the definition. The definition follows, is repeated in Appendix A while Appendix B provides additional discussion. As the definition is intended to be concise, CCPS believes it is important to include the discussion in conjunction with the definition for clarification and insight to help chemical engineers and others to develop a full understanding of the concept of inherently safer technology.”

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