Process Safety Engineering Principles

This program will be delivered virtually through PetroAcademy™ providing participants with the knowledge they need at their convenience. All learning activities are self-paced and can be completed at any time.

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LEVEL: Basic

DURATION: Approximately 40 hours of self-paced work


DESIGNED FOR:  Anyone who has to deal with concepts of process safety engineering, including facilities engineers, process engineers, design engineers, new safety/loss engineers, project engineers, operations supervisors, maintenance supervisors, and representatives from insurance companies or regulatory agencies

ABOUT THIS COURSE: The Process Safety Engineering Principles Blended Program provides an overview of process safety engineering fundamentals for hydrocarbon processing facilities. The focus of this course is on the engineering/design aspects of Process Safety Management. Frequent reference is made to historical incidents and recurring problem areas. Techniques for analyzing and mitigating process safety hazards applicable to oil and gas processing will also be reviewed. This program integrates the concepts covered to achieve a measured approach to Process Safety Engineering.

This course is comprised of the following skill modules (approx. 4 hours each)

  • Process Safety Risk Analysis and Inherently Safer Design
  • Process Hazards Analysis and Layers of Protection Analysis Techniques
  • Leakage and Dispersion of Hydrocarbons
  • Combustion Behavior of Hydrocarbons
  • Sources of Ignition and Hazardous Area Classification
  • Specific Plant Systems and Equipment
  • Relief and Flare Systems
  • Historical Incident Databases, Plant Layout and Equipment Spacing
  • Fire Protection Systems
  • SIS, Monitoring and Control

This module provides basic concepts and definitions needed to better understand and utilize Process Safety and Inherently Safer Design. This module also includes various models, strategies and examples to better analyze and reduce risk and apply Inherently Safer Design.



  • How to analyze and assess different types of risk analyses
  • How to utilize models that are associated with risk management
  • The importance of building safety into processes
  • How Inherently Safer Design can be applied

This module addresses Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA). It will cover PHA definitions, concepts, and techniques, as well as the definition and purpose of LOPA and the LOPA procedure.



  • The purpose, premise and scope of a PHA
  • PHA methodology, including HAZOP and API14C
  • The differences between methods, including benefits and disadvantages
  • The purpose and steps of a LOPA procedure
  • The role of independent protection layers and conditional modifiers in LOPA


This skill module covers accidental leaks and calculating concentration and dispersion of those leaks. This module also discusses how calculations can be made to keep people safe from exposure to leaks and what the risks are when working around hazardous materials.



  • Detect the conditions in which accidental release can occur, and identify the factors that affect the amount of release
  • Assess gas and liquid leak rate equations
  • Estimate vapor cloud size
  • Describe the factors associated with gas dispersion
  • Analyze the risks of Hydrogen Sulfide and oxygen deficiency on people
  • Estimate downwind concentration of a leaked gas
  • Estimate probability of fatality from exposure to a material
  • Assess probit function and estimate probability of fatality using the function

This module covers Combustion Behavior of Hydrocarbons. It will review vocabulary, concepts, and the factors that drive calculations regarding combustion behavior.



  • The fundamentals of flammability and flammable limits typical of hydrocarbons
  • The characteristics of hydrocarbon fires and explosions
  • Essential variables in calculations of typical fire and explosion scenarios

The Sources of Ignition and Hazardous Area Classification Core module covers two main sections; Sources of Ignition, and Hazardous Area Classification. The Sources of Ignition section looks at electrical and non-electrical sources along with their controls. Non-power ignition is also included as an independent section regarding the sources of ignition. The Hazardous Area Classification section illustrates the fundamental purposes of HAC and the standards that are available.



  • Identify the ignition characteristics of fuel
  • Explain the probability of leak ignition by release rate category
  • Identify common non-electric sources of ignition
  • Indicate the primary controls for non-electric sources of ignition
  • Describe Hazardous Area Classification and design alternatives
  • Identify the purpose of Hazardous Area Classification
  • Compare IEC and US standards of Gas groups
  • Describe the correlation between area classification and risk assessment
  • Identify and describe non-power electrical ignition sources
  • Identify non-power ignition controls

The Specific Plant Systems and Equipment Core skill module covers several sections including, piping systems, storage facilities, pumps and compressors, heat exchangers, and pressure vessels.



  • Define the piping system and identify the components associated with it
  • Explain why piping systems have a high incident rate and identify its failure modes
  • Identify different types of flanges and their main types of failures
  • Analyze an incident to determine its failure modes and how they could have been eliminated
  • Discuss the main issues that arise from storage tanks
  • Classify the different types of storage facilities
  • Explain the vapor recovery system from roof tanks and issues that can arise with floating roof tanks
  • Classify the different types of atmospheric storage tanks and the potential types of fires that can arise from each type
  • Identify the types of pressurized storage and the main issues associated with it
  • Illustrate how loading trucks and rail cars are used to prevent loss of containment
  • Identify the causes of pump release
  • Classify and analyze the two main types of pumps and their issues
  • Discuss mechanical single seals and tandem seals and explain their functions
  • Identify the three main types of compressors and issues that can arise
  • Identify the main types of fired heaters
  • Discuss the issues that can occur with direct fired heaters
  • Explain how furnace tube failure can occur
  • Compare firetube and furnace fired heaters in regards to ignition and explosion
  • Identify the main types of heat exchangers and issues that can arise
  • Identify types of equipment within pressure vessels
  • List and explain the causes of pressure vessel release

In this skill module, you will learn about causes of overpressure, the different types of relief valves and their applications, depressurization and flare systems.



  • Understand the typical causes of overpressure
  • Identify the different types of relief devices and their applications
  • Describe the purpose and operation of a depressurization system
  • Identify major components of a flare system and describe their purpose

This skill module deals with Historical Incident Databases, Process Safety Metrics, and the layout of operating facilities at the Core level.



  • Terminology related to historical incident databases (HIDs) and process safety metrics
  • How process safety metrics are related to HIDs
  • Why and how HIDs are used
  • Findings from a few readily-available HID sources, including Duguid and UKHSE
  • Where site selection and layout fit into the normal design sequence
  • The main safety considerations and other criteria in site selection and layout
  • Application of industry spacing guidelines

In this skill module, you will learn about the main fire protection strategies, passive and active protection, fire water and foam applications, fireproofing materials, and the use of drainage, containment, and remote impounding in prevention and mitigation of fire and explosion.



  • Describe the main fire protection strategies
  • Discuss the elements of passive and active fire protection
  • Explain the application of commonly used fireproofing materials
  • Identify areas of application for fire and blast walls Discuss the application of drainage, containment, and remote impounding
  • Discuss applications for firewater and foam
  • Explain the reasons for typical firewater loop design requirements
  • Discuss the role of remotely operated isolation and depressuring valves in prevention and mitigation of fire and explosion
  • Discuss the objectives and applications of fire and gas alarm systems

This skill module is comprised of two sections; Safety Instrumented Systems, and Monitoring and Control. Within this module, you will find multiple control method examples, the concepts of SIL and SIF, along with a case study that highlights the module.



  • Define and explain process control
  • Identify the process safety instrumentation goals
  • Identify and discuss the methods of control
  • Describe the elements of feedback, cascade, and feedforward control
  • Explain control modes and the elements of alarm philosophy
  • Discuss the application of SCADA, DCS, MVC, MIS
  • Describe what Safety Instrumented Systems are
  • Illustrate when and why Safety Instrumented systems are used with reference to some key aspects of IEC 61511/ISA S84
  • Define Safe Integrated Levels (SIL) and its assessment
  • Discuss the effects of Test Frequency on Risk Reduction and Safe Integrated Levels


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