Chemical Reaction Hazards: New British Publication OffersHelp

A 76-page manual published by the United\r\nKingdom's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers guidance in the area of chemical safety.

U.S. safety managers concerned with reducing the risks of chemical reaction hazards often lack good information that could help them do their job.

At least that is what a number of witnesses said at a recent public review of the Chemical Safety Board''s (CSB) investigation into the April, 1998 explosion at Morton Specialty Chemical in Paterson, N.J.

The blast injured nine workers and released toxic chemicals into the surrounding neighborhood.

Some guidance in this area of chemical safety is now available, thanks to the release of "Designing and Operating Safe Chemical Reaction Processes," a 76-page manual published by the United Kingdom''s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The monograph:

  • offers guidance on the assessment of chemical reaction hazards for batch and semi-batch processes;
  • describes how to prevent and control the risk of "thermal runaway" affecting people and the environment;
  • provides advice on safe management and operational procedures in order to cut the risk of harming people, property and the environment;
  • offers information on maintenance, training, and the
  • information needed to prevent and control chemical reaction hazards.

The HSE says the publication is aimed at those directly responsible for the development, design, and operation of chemical plants and processes.

According to the CSB, the best way for Americans to obtain a copy of the booklet is to go the HSE Books Web site:, then click on the Bookfinder Catalogue, searching for the book by its title or the ISBN number: 0717610519.

The manual costs a little more than 12 British pounds.

by James Nash

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