The Texas Chemical Council is partnering with the Texas A&M Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center and San Jacinto College's LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology to launch new process safety management courses this spring. The courses will enhance process safety competency across industry.
Each professional development course — Introduction to Process Safety, Introduction to Risk Management, Fire Protection and Emergency Response, and Industrial Safety and Technical Fundamentals — were developed in collaboration with the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, an academic leader in process safety research and best practices.
"We are very excited to partner with San Jacinto College to offer these professional development courses for industry workers," said Hector Rivero, Texas Chemical Council president and CEO. "San Jac has state-of-the-art facilities, highly qualified faculty, and has demonstrated great academic leadership in partnering with Texas A&M to deliver quality process safety curriculum that will help keep our manufacturing plants safe."
The courses include hands-on training that allow workers to practice skills in CPET's 8,000-square-foot, two-story glycol process training unit and 35 custom interior labs, including a multifunctional glass pilot lab, 20 interactive classrooms, four custom workstations, and advanced control rooms. Students will complete 24 hours of lab work at the state-of-the-art CPET facility and 24 hours of online instruction.
"These courses will elevate the importance of process safety competency for incumbent workers across industry, help prevent industrial accidents, and ensure the safety of our employees," said Steve Skarke, vice president of Kaneka. "Safety is always at the forefront for industry, but with these new hands-on courses, we are looking to set a higher standard."
Texas Chemical Council, a statewide trade association for chemical manufacturers in Texas, sought to develop these courses as a response to a series of process safety incidents in recent years.
"As our industry has hired thousands of new workers to backfill for the large number of retirements at all levels in our organizations, ensuring process safety competency for our workforce is critical," said Bill Efaw, associate process safety director for Dow and vice chair of the Texas Chemical Council Process Safety Committee. "Most people coming into our industry today have little, if any, process safety acumen when they walk in the door, and these courses seek to change that."
The Texas Chemical Council initiated a process safety improvement project after numerous industry incidents occurred in 2019. Council leaders collaborated with Texas A&M to conduct research and develop a plan to enhance process safety across all industry sectors. The primary focus of the plan is to create professional development opportunities for incumbent workers. However, it is expected that the material will also enhance the process safety curriculum offered to students enrolled in process technology programs to get similar training before they enter industry.
"We are thrilled to be working with the Texas Chemical Council to offer these experiential safety courses to incumbent workers from our industrial partner facilities," said Jim Griffin, associate vice chancellor/senior vice president of CPET. "The incumbent workers who enter our facility will be working with technologically advanced custom laboratories, experienced instructors at the top of their fields, and a curriculum developed by Texas Chemical Council and San Jac in partnership with the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center."
The Texas Chemical Council hopes the San Jac courses will prove successful, become a model for developing other process safety courses, and potentially be offered at other colleges delivering industry-based curriculum across Texas and the country.
"We encourage industry leaders in San Jacinto College's service area to take a closer look at these courses and identify workers across your organization that would benefit from this process safety training," Rivero said.
San Jacinto College plans to roll out the first two courses concurrently in May, and once the full program is launched later in 2021, the set of four courses will be offered every 90 days.
Learn more about incumbent worker training at CPET.