LyondellBasell safety experts advance best practices

HOUSTON, Texas – LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) partnered to deliver process safety best practices to college professors. Chemical engineering educators from the U.S. and Middle East attended an industry-led workshop hosted at LyondellBasell’s Houston Engineering Center this week.

The effort is part of an initiative to incorporate safety training in the undergraduate curriculum so students graduate with the well-rounded knowledge they need. Although chemical companies have extensive safety training programs, experience has shown that focusing on these concepts at an earlier stage helps embed safety as a key component of one’s work environment.

Dale Friedrichs, LyondellBasell’s vice president of Health, Safety, Environment and Security, explained the importance of this approach. “Our goal is to help give engineers some basic knowledge and tools regarding process safety, prior to starting their career. It is important for them to understand the criticality of their role in protecting themselves, co-workers and our environment. At LyondellBasell, we have an unwavering commitment to safety and we are proud to work with AIChE on this important initiative.”

During the course, LyondellBasell safety experts reviewed best practices and industry case studies with the faculty members. Some of the topics included hazard identification methods and risk assessment, inherently safe design, and evaluating the availability of safeguards. The visiting professors also toured LyondellBasell’s Channelview Complex and Houston Technology Center to see the real-life implementation of the latest solutions.

Shakeel Kadri, executive director of AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), reflected on the importance of exposing professors to the application of safety best practices. “These faculty workshops provide vital orientation and resources for chemical engineering teachers, allowing instructors to better prepare students for safe and responsible practice as they enter the industry.”

Colin Howat, Ph.D., P.E., emeritus professor from the University of Kansas and one of the organizers of the faculty workshop, said process safety is often treated lightly or not at all in an undergraduate curriculum. "Industry, through the CCPS, is leading the initiative to ensure process safety is in the curricula by providing opportunities to faculty to learn industrial emphasis and application of process safety engineering." 


In 2017, LyondellBasell donated $750,000 to the AIChE Foundation to support the organization’s Undergraduate Process Safety Learning Initiative, a multi-pronged program aimed at preparing engineering students for entering the chemical industry. The initiative is a global effort and core priority of the AIChE Foundation’s Doing a World of Good campaign, which focuses on bringing chemical engineering expertise to bear for the good of society.


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