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This page contains previous items from our Latest News feature.

Primatech Exhibiting at the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium

Publish Date: 2018-10-04
Category: Primatech News

Primatech will be exhibiting at the annual Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium, October 23-25, 2018 in College Station, Texas. Be sure to visit the Primatech booth (10 & 11) at the Hilton Conference Center’s Bluebonnet Ballroom exhibit hall, where we will be featuring demos of our newest software, highlighted by hands-on demonstrations of PHAWorks RA Edition and PHAWorks Lite.

Representing Primatech will be Shawn Metzler, who will be available to discuss how Primatech's consulting, training, and software and Primacert’s certifications can assist in meeting your organization's process safety objectives. 

The Primatech booth will also feature copies of recent technical papers that you can pick up. Written by company founder and CEO, Dr. Paul Baybutt, topics of these articles include: documenting PHA scenarios correctly; key issues in performing HAZOP studies; and, using LOPA to determine SILs.

While visiting the Primatech booth, be sure to drop off your business card for a chance to win a Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Wireless Speaker!

See additional information about Primatech exhibiting at this year’s Symposium.


ISA approves IEC 61511

Publish Date: 2018-09-24
Category: Industry News

The newest edition of IEC 61511, Functional safety - Safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector, has been approved by ISA as a new version of ISA 84, Instrumented Systems to Achieve Functional Safety in the Process Industries.

ISA developed the original ISA-84.01 standard on which the first edition of IEC 61511 was based. This new edition of IEC 61511 was approved by ISA without modification.

The new standards will be designated as ANSI/ISA-61511, Functional Safety – Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector, Parts 1-3. The standards establish requirements for the specification, design, installation, operation and maintenance of safety instrumented systems.

In Memoriam: Sam Mannan

Publish Date: 2018-09-24
Category: Industry News

Sam Mannan, the founding director of the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center and Regents Professor of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University has passed away at the age of 63. Primatech and I extend our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

I first met Sam when he worked at RMT, an environmental consulting firm, having previously worked in academia. Subsequently, he moved back into academia when he became the director of the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center. Sam was one of the few people in the field who looked at process safety from both an academic and an industry perspective.

Sam established the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center as a major center for process safety development with many graduate students and visiting professors over the years and an annual conference. He received many awards for his work.

I recall dining with Sam in Qingdao, China during a process safety conference. He was concerned about the future of process safety and the need to bring young minds into the field. I am sure Sam would have continued pursuing this goal had his life not ended so soon. He will be missed by many.

Paul Baybutt
President, CEO, and founder, Primatech Inc.

Primatech has published a white paper to help practitioners perform HAZOP studies correctly.

Publish Date: 2018-08-28
Category: Primatech News

Primatech has prepared this white paper to assist practitioners in understanding the correct way of conducting HAZOP studies. The document focuses on how to identify key aspects of design intent, generate important deviations, and use guidewords properly.

You may view the white paper by clicking here.

EPA RMP Delay Rule Vacated

Publish Date: 2018-08-22
Category: Industry News

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) rule to delay implementation of amendments to its Risk Management Program (RMP) rule adopted in the wake of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant disaster.

The amended RMP rule was promulgated on January 13, 2017 under the Obama administration. The EPA delayed the regulation several times under the Trump administration and promulgated a final Delay Rule on June 14, 2017, which postponed the effective date until February 19, 2019. However, in July 2017, a group of state attorneys general sued the EPA for delaying the regulation. The Court of Appeals ruled in their favor on August 17, 2018.

EPA also proposed a rule to rescind and narrow the planned amendments to the RMP rule in May 2018. Consequently, there is uncertainty regarding compliance with the amended requirements. A petition for rehearing by the Court of Appeals, if granted, could result in a further delay. Otherwise, the amendments would become immediately effective.

Descriptions of the RMP rule amendments can be found here:

EPA RMP Rule Amendments - Summary  



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.