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This page contains previous items from our Latest News feature.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on the completeness of scenario identification in process hazard analysis (PHA)

Publish Date: 2018-08-15
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Volume 55, pages 492-499, September 2018.

The article can be accessed for free on Science Direct until September 26, 2018 by clicking on the link below. No sign up or registration is needed.



Process hazard analysis is used to identify hazard scenarios so that the adequacy of process safeguards in protecting against incidents can be addressed. Of course, it is unlikely that this objective can be achieved with an incomplete set of scenarios. Also, scenarios from PHA are used as the basis for risk analysis studies such as LOPA and QRA which depend on having a complete set of scenarios to avoid underestimation of risk. Consequently, PHA studies should strive to identify hazard scenarios as completely as possible. The completeness of scenario identification is the most important issue for PHA. Missed scenarios can equate to the occurrence of incidents.

The ability to achieve the identification of a complete set of hazard scenarios is limited by a number of factors. They include technical constraints posed by PHA methods and practices, human behaviors during PHA study sessions, and poor quality assurance and control in conducting studies. The latter arises from both external factors that adversely impact PHA team performance and internal factors that detract from the effectiveness of studies. This article identifies and discusses these factors and makes recommendations on how they can best be managed.

Primatech Releases PHAWorks RA Edition

Publish Date: 2018-06-25
Category: Primatech News

The Next Generation of PHA/LOPA Software is NOW AVAILABLE!  Primatech Inc. has announced the release of its newest innovative software, PHAWorks® RA Edition. Billed as “the next generation of PHA/LOPA software,” RA Edition allows both PHA and LOPA studies to be conducted in the same worksheet. Complete with an intuitive interface and functionality that is both versatile and easy to use, RA Edition offers a host of capabilities designed for both experienced and novice users. For more information and to request an evaluation copy, click here.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on the validity of engineering judgment and expert opinion in hazard and risk analysis

Publish Date: 2018-06-04
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in Process Safety Progress, Process Safety Progress, Volume 37, pages 205-210, Issue 2, June 2018.


Hazard and risk analysis depends heavily on human decision making in the form of engineering judgment and expert opinion. Human decision making may be flawed by the effects of heuristics and cognitive biases. The influence of these psychological factors may invalidate the results of hazard and risk analysis studies. They must be managed carefully to minimize their possible adverse impacts. This article provides a pragmatic view of cognitive biases and guidance on how to address them in hazard and risk analysis.


CSB Issues Final Report on 2017 Arkema Chemical Plant Fire

Publish Date: 2018-05-29
Category: Industry News

On May 24, 2018, the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued its final report on the fire that occurred at the Arkema Inc. chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, on August 31, 2017.

The Arkema Crosby facility manufactures liquid organic peroxides some of which must be kept below 32 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent them from decomposing and igniting. In the days prior to the incident, extensive flooding from Hurricane Harvey disabled both the plant’s main and backup refrigeration systems. As a result, peroxides decomposed and burned, releasing fumes and smoke into the air. All of Arkema’s employees and over 200 nearby residents were evacuated.

The CSB investigation found that there is a significant lack of guidance in planning for flooding and other severe weather events at chemical process facilities. Key recommendations from the CSB include:

  • Facilities should perform an analysis to determine susceptibility to potential extreme natural events such as flooding, earthquakes, and high winds. 
  • Companies should evaluate the potential risk of extreme weather events and the adequacy of safeguards when conducting process hazard analysis or facility siting studies.
  • Facilities should strive to apply a sufficiently conservative risk management approach when evaluating and mitigating the risk from extreme weather events. 
  • For flooding risks, facilities must ensure that critical safeguards and equipment are not susceptible to common cause failures and that independent layers of protection are available in the event of high water levels.


Read the CSB news release.

Read the CSB final report.   

View the CSB animation of the incident.

Watch the CSB safety video, “Caught in the Storm: Extreme Weather Hazards.”


Gas Explosion in Pasadena, TX

Publish Date: 2018-05-22
Category: Industry News

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is investigating a May 19, 2018 gas explosion and subsequent flash fire at the Kuraray America plant in Pasadena, Texas that reportedly injured 21 workers. The company is a specialty chemical manufacturer and the facility produces ethylene vinyl-alcohol copolymers. 

Resignation of CSB Chairperson Sutherland

Publish Date: 2018-05-22
Category: Industry News

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland announced that she will be stepping down and resigning from the position of Chair and Board Member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board effective June, 2018. Board members will be required to vote on an interim executive, unless and until the White House nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms a new Chairperson. 

EPA Signs Proposed RMP Reconsideration Rule

Publish Date: 2018-05-17
Category: Industry News

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator signed a proposed Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration rule on May 17, 2018, requesting public comment on several proposed changes to the final RMP Amendments issued January 13, 2017. The EPA has provided a 60-day comment period on these proposed changes which would overturn or modify provisions of that rule pertaining to facilities operating with hazardous materials.

More information about the final amendments to the RMP rule is available at:


Primatech has published a white paper that describes a procedure for conducting Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) studies according to the requirements of NFPA 652-2016.

Publish Date: 2018-04-06
Category: Primatech News

This white paper describes a procedure developed by Primatech for performing Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) studies, according to NFPA 652-2016, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust. This standard applies to industrial facilities that pose combustible dust hazards, including a wide variety of industries that use dust collection and handling equipment or have processes that generate combustible dusts.

You may view the white paper by clicking on its title:

Procedure for Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) (PDF format)

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors book chapter on Security Vulnerability Analysis

Publish Date: 2018-03-05
Category: Primatech News

Dr. Baybutt authored the chapter, Security Vulnerability Analysis (SVA): Protecting Process Plants from Physical and Cyber Threats, in the book:

Security Risk Assessment in the Chemical and Process Industry, Genserik Reniers, Nima Khakzad, and Pieter Van Gelder (Editors), De Gruyter, 2018.

The chapter describes SVA methods that can be used to evaluate threat scenarios that originate with hostile action to gain access to processes in order to cause harm. Both physical attacks that target processes within facilities and cyber attacks that seek to manipulate computer systems, such as those used for process control, are addressed.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper on guidelines for designing risk matrices

Publish Date: 2018-03-05
Category: Primatech News

The paper was published in Process Safety Progress, Process Safety Progress, Volume 37, pages 49–55, Issue 1, March 2018.


Risk matrices are used widely in process safety to rate and rank risks posed by processes to help with decision making. For example, commonly they are used in process hazard analysis to rate the risks of hazard scenarios and determine the need for risk reduction. However, there are no standards for risk matrices in process safety. Companies develop their own without the benefit of established industry guidelines. Risk matrices are deceptively simple but their design and use are rife with pitfalls, even for experienced users. Some of these pitfalls are not obvious and invalid risk ratings can result which are unrecognized. Guidelines for constructing risk matrices that address these pitfalls are provided.