MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy and Environment / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Process Safety

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN20152
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


  • Why do we need to design for safety? (L1–L2)
  • Designing for Safety / Analysing Designs for Safety (L3-L4, L10)
  • Hazards – What are problems that design must control? (L6-L9)
  • Checking for major hazards (L7)
  • How safe is safe enough? Ethics and Probabilities (L11)
  • Process Hazard Analysis Methods (L5, L12-L15)
  • Running a plant safely (L16–L17)


The unit aims to provide an introduction to process plant safety:

Understanding of the major hazards of chemical processes.
Understanding of the legal requirements and engagement with the ethical implications of cost-benefit analysis.
Ability to identify where the hazards are present and propose suitable control measures.


Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

1 Identify the hazards present in a process – including flammability, explosion, toxicity and human factors.

2 Describe the factors that aggravate and mitigate hazards and calculate hazards such as flammability limits, explosive properties.

3 Use the barrier model to design a layered approach to reducing or mitigating a hazard.

4 Design and justify a control strategy to operate a process safely, presenting it on a P&ID, and including BPCS, SIS and safety devices such as pressure relief valves and bursting discs.

5 Apply the main process hazard analysis tools (HAZID, HAZOP LOPA, Fault Tree, Hazardous Area Classification) to simple situations, using the HSE TOR model to identify if the hazards have been sufficiently controlled.

6 Develop and apply safety management tools (Permit to Work systems, Management of Change) to control the hazards in simple situations.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and examples of previous exam questions and styles of answers
HAZOP training courses: interactive outline and full text-based course
HAZOP of a large rig in the James Chadwick Building, with LOPA of critical sections, supported by workshop sessions

Assessment methods

Assessment task Weighting
Continuous assessment 50%
Exam style assessment 50%


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 75

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stuart Holmes Unit coordinator
Bernard Treves Brown Unit coordinator

Return to course details