SELECTING VALVES FOR SAFETY IN
Safety has always been a major issue and top priority in the
chemical and petroleum industries.
In recent years, however, the focus
has been even more intense, driven
by increasingly stringent employee
safety guidelines, growing environmental awareness, and newly identified safety risks. These developments
reaffirm how vital safety and vigilance in process plants are, and
make the need for innovative ways to
optimize safety in chemical plants
and refineries critical.
As the focus on how to avoid risk in the chemical
industry intensifies, the concentration on
hazardous material leaks is placed into the
spotlight. Several guidelines on safety design and
new rules on tracking emissions have been
issued, and other new rules are in the works.
BY WILLIAM C. HAYES
prudent business managers can take, as well as a host of other areas of regulation
concerning leaks and fugitive emissions—and many of these regulations directly
affect the use and maintenance of valves.
Valves are also vital elements in safety instrumented systems (SIS), which use
redundant equipment to guarantee safe shutdown of a process in an emergency. Such
systems are rated by their safety integrity level (SIL); and the type of valves used in
an SIS can have a profound impact on its SIL. (An SIS is also often referred to as an
emergency shutdown [ESD] system, safety shutdown [SSD] system, or safety interlock system.)