CHEM ENG 7038 - Process Plant Safety and Risk Assessment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

The objective of this course is to deliver a broad level study of risk identification and management in process plant integrity management. Process integrity management (or as often referred to Process Safety Management) is important because accidents in process plants can cause significant casualties and serious financial losses with the potential impact on the community over a wide radius from the plant itself. This course focuses on high consequence and low probability events.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CHEM ENG 7038
    Course Process Plant Safety and Risk Assessment
    Coordinating Unit Chemical Engineering
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Tutorials, project
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Michael Malavazos

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Understand fundamental principles and elements of Process Safety Management;
    2 Knowledge of how to assess likelihood and severity of consequences of incidents;
    3 Understand various risk assessment and analysis techniques such as Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP), Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA), qualitative risk matrix, quantitative risk assessment techniques. 
    4 Demonstrate how the root cause of incidents can be investigated and analysed and the various human and technical aspects of such causes.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.5   1.6   2.3   2.4   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Material on MyUni
    Extensive reading material is available on the MyUni Course Canvas page. All this material is sorted and linked to the lecture topics given in class.


    Tweeddale, Mark, Managing risk and reliability of process plants, Gulf Professional Publishing, 2003

    Kletz, Trevor, What went wrong, Case histories of process plant disasters, 2nd Ed, Gulf Professional Publishing, 1998

    Kletz, Trevor, Still going wrong, Case histories of process plant disasters and how they could have been avoided,  Gulf Professional Publishing, 2003

    Crowl, Daniel A. and Louvar, Joseph F., Chemical process safety, Fundamentals with applications, 2nd Ed, Prentice Hall, 2002

    Ammerman, Max, The Root Cause Analysis Handbook: A Simplified Approach to Identifying, Correcting, and Reporting Workplace Errors,

    Crawley, Frank., Preston, Malcolm., and Tyler, Brian., HAZOP Guide to Best Practice, 2nd Edition, IChemE, 2008

    Hopkins, Andrew, Lessons from Longford: The Esso Gas Plant Explosion, Published North Ryde, N.S.W. CCH Australia, 2000
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    As a graduate-level engineering course, the subject material is delivered in a manner which relies heavily on student-centred learning. Each student is encouraged to engage with the material as an individual with a focus on their own particular needs and interests

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Workload hours commitment:

    Expected total workload hours:

    Lectures 20
    Workshops 10
    Personnel Research 80
    Assignment 20
    Assignment 20
    TOTAL 150
    Learning Activities Summary
    This course deals with the study of risk identification and management for the purpose of process plant integrity management. Process integrity management (or as often referred to Process Safety Management) is important because accidents in process plants can cause significant casualties and serious financial losses with the potential impact on the community over a wide radius from the plant itself. This course focuses on high consequence and low probability events.

    It seeks to examine:

    a)     Case studies of major accident events;

    b)     Quantitative and qualitative methods for identifying and managing the risk (likelihood of potential hazards and consequences) of major accident events;

    c)      Methods of reducing and controlling risk to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP), in particular through the adoption of the HAZOP process.

    d)    Techniques for analysing and investigating incidents to identify their root cause.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    2 Individual Assignments 100 Individual Summative Weeks 2-12 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignment 1:

    Using a case study provided, in the context of material presented in lectures and any personal review of the literature:

    • Identify the various preventative and mitigative controls that failed to function and contributed to the cause of the accident; 
    • Categorise these controls as either hardware or procedural;
    • Present these controls in a bow tie using the bow tie software provided;
    • For each control discuss what PSM element(s) are likely to have been deficient that led to the control failing to fulfill its purpose;  

    Length of 3000 to 6000 words

    Assignment 2:

    Review the findings into the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986 as discussed in class, describe your understanding of the:

    • Root causes leading to the incident and consequences, discuss in terms of:
    • Events leading up to the accident;
    • Compromised or absent preventative and mitigation controls;
    • Physical hardware causes;
    • Human causes – unsafe acts (e.g. intendent and un-intendent actions);
    • Design issues (e.g. water vs graphite moderated, rods, containment)
      Any reason why less inherently safe RMBK was adopted.
    • Training and competency.
    • Leadership and Supervision.
    • Workforce involvement.
    • Organisation/government vs safety objectives.
    • Risk identification/assessment.
    • Risk management and work control, PTW/MOC.
    • Operational readiness.
    • Emergency preparedness.
    • Management of safety critical devices.
    Assignment is to be between 5000 and 6000 words
    Assignments to be submitted on date and by means provided during lecture.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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