Chilworth in the press

Chemical Characterisation In The Safe Handling Of Acids And Caustics

Employee exposure to corrosives must be evaluated to determine the need for engineering and administrative controls as well as the need for personal protective equipment. The results from injuries can be severe and even fatal. Mists produced by liquids can result in lung damage if inhaled, serious burns or irritation can be the result of accidental contact to the skin or eyes, and lung and skin cancer have been linked to chromic acid. Additional threats to employees are posed by the ease with which many corrosive chemicals ignite, explode or react with incompatible substances.

Acids and caustics have two common key properties; they are all corrosive and are extremely common in industry. Taking the time to ensure that acids and caustics are managed appropriately is critical to process safety. They can damage human tissue, and attack many other materials as well. They can react with metals, producing hydrogen gas which is highly flammable. Many acids and some caustics may have toxic properties, and they may release corrosive vapours at room temperature when in a concentrated form, such as nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Some chemicals turn corrosive when they come into contact with water or humidity; for example, 1, 2-dichloroethane attacks iron and some other metals in the presence of moisture at high temperatures.

Chilworth Technology's Richard Prugh and Jitendra Kumar consider the hazards and the precautions that can prevent serious health risks to workers due to exposure to corrosives.

Originally published in Chemical Engineering WorldOctober 2015.

 Chemical Characterisation in the Safe Handling of Acids and Caustics

The Top Ten Myths of Dust Zoning

Over 70% of powders handled in industry are capable of giving rise to dust explosions under the right conditions. Many of these powders can be found in the food and beverage sector, including sugar, sweeteners, starch, flour, grain, vitamins, amino acids, resins, gums, flavour ingredients, caffeine, and many others. 

A number of these materials have been involved in some of the most devastating dust explosion incidents that have occurred in industry. For example, the 2008 Imperial Sugar dust explosion incident in Port Wentworth, Georgia, was responsible for 14 deaths and 42 serious injuries.

In this article, Chilworth's Simon Gakhar examines some myths that have become established in areas where dust explosion hazards are present, and shares some of his experiences advising clients on mitigating risk.

Originally published in Hazardex magazine, July 2015.

The Top Ten Myths of Dust Zoning

An Organizations Excellence Must Drive its Safe Operations

When a company takes time to look at its overall process safety, and realises there is significant room for improvement, it cannot simply "decide" to get better. Due to the size and complexity of many company's operations, there has to be a more robust and systematic approach to improving process safety. 

Developing an operational excellence system (OES) is a well-defined method for companies to improve process safety from within the organization. An OES more effectively manages process safety to meet the rising expectations of regulators, shareholders and communities. 

Chilworth Technology's Lisa C Hutto looks at the value of implementing and operational excellence system in the following article.

Originally found in Processing MagazineApril 2015.

 An Easy Method to Design Gas/Vapor Relief System with Rupture Disk

Prevent formation of ignitable mixtures

A variety of techniques can preclude fire and explosion hazards

Many chemical makers use flammable and combustible liquids and, thus, face a serious risk of a fire or explosion during the handling, processing and storage of these liquids. If containment is lost, then, depending upon the quantity released, local ventilation or draft conditions, ambient temperature and volatility of the liquid, ignition of the vapors and subsequent fire or explosion could result in severe injuries or loss of life and damage to the facility and the environment.

To read our article published in Chemical Processing, click here:

An easy method to design gas/ vapor relief system with rupture disk

Tank discharge gas/vapor flow problems are frequently encountered in both practice and design. To perform this type of design calculation, the first step is to identify whether the flow is choked or not through a trial-and-error solution of an equation for adiabatic flow with friction from a reservoir through a pipe. Developing a direct method without any trial-and-error to identify a choking condition would be helpful for expediting the flow calculations. This paper presents an easy and quick method to identify the choking of gas flow for an emergency relief system consisting of a rupture disk and vent piping. This greatly simplifies the design calculations. The proposed method for validating the venting adequacy of existing ERS circumvents the iteration calculation and the use of Lapple charts. Three case studies for the design of vent piping for rupture disks support the proposed method.

Please see our article published in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries here:


A need for change, TCE Magazine, March 2014.

Recent major incidents in the US have led to an increased awareness of safety issues related to the chemicals industry. The situation has become such that the industry is in “the midst of a safety crisis right now”, and called for an “urgent overhaul” of safety regulations.

Chilworth's David Kaelin looks at proposed changes to OSHA’s process safety management standard in the US in this article.

Read this article

Brewing and distilling industry

Hazard assessment in the brewing and distilling industries


The UK brewing and distilling industry contributes significantly to the Food and Drink sector, which is estimated to be worth some £80 billion annually and represents around 7% of UK GDP.

Alcoholic drink production requires only a few raw materials; cereal grain plus yeast plus water, which are heated, fermented, matured and decanted, producing ethanol liquor. Thus, it would appear only the final product is flammable and if the ethanol is sufficiently diluted, in the case of beers, lagers and other alcoholic beverages, no flammable atmospheres exist. If only it
were that simple!

Discover this full version content article written out by one of our senior experts.

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Justifying the price of safety

We all know that accidents cost money. And major accidents can cost a lot of money - as
pertinently summed up by the famous cliché: "If you think safety is expensive, try
having an accident'l
Major accidents incur costs for a number of reasons, most of which, with hindsight,
are obvious. They include loss of personnel, assets and production, increased insurance
premiums, environmental cleanup, fines, and bad publicity.
Because of this we tend to justify spending money on process safety based purely on how
much an incident would cost if it happened, and hence what we 'save' by that incident not
happening. Techniques such as cost benefit analysis (CBA) address this and can be usefuI
when applied correctly and realistically, but the downside is that they can result in a
surprisingly low level of expenditure being justified to avert a major incident.
It's always harder to justifo exp".tdiru.e when the immediate benefit (such as return
on investment) can't be demonstrated. Even if there's a legislative driver such as
ATEX, dependent upon the culture in the company, process safety expenditure is
often treated no differently. In our business we carry out many safetya ssessments for
clients and invariably the outcome is a series of risk reduction recommendations
which we expect the client to implement to ensure compliance. This helps the client
understand what they need to do but to be faced with a large number of actions (some
of which may incur substantial costs) often leads to one outcome: no action or, at best,
insufficient action.
Often, we revisit a site, sometimes years after the first assessmentt,o find only
a small percentage of actions have been addressed, usually the cheap and easy ones.
This problem can be even more pronounced if the recommendations are made from
an employee within the company rather than an external consultant. This is simply
because consultants are sometimes engaged to help drive safety improvement projects
forward where internal efforts have failed.
So what can we do to change this? There are no simple answers to persuading a company
to part with capital for process safety improvements, but there are tactics that can
be employed to increase the likelihood of take-up.


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Experts in Process Safety Excellence Chilworth Global is an organisation dedicating to helping process industries avoid major fire, explosion and loss of containment events and improve performance to save lives and protect assets.