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CME2031 : Safety, Risk and Engineering Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Maria Vicevic
  • Lecturer: Dr Chris O'Malley, Mr John Dalton, Dr Adrian Oila, Dr Evangelos Papaioannou
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Provide a complete grounding in all aspects of process safety related to the Chemical Engineering Industry, to be made aware of relevant regulations relating to safety, be taught and to practice: risk, and a range of practical tools relating to hazards and, with practical sessions to reinforce knowledge gained in lectures.
Provide an introduction to the properties and science of materials used in engineering including metals, plastics and polymers, how they behave under loads in practical situations, be introduced to the services, techniques and regulatory provisions which are required on any process plant, to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the process, and understand the technology of, and acquire skills in, the minimisation of energy usage on process plant.
This module provides a thorough understanding of basics of process safety related to the Chemical Engineering Industry and supplies an introduction to the properties of materials used in engineering including metals, and the services, techniques and regulatory provisions that are required in any process plants to enable the safe and efficient operations of processes.

Outline Of Syllabus


Responsibility and Regulations:
History and rationale behind regulations such as: COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Regulations 2015, SEVESO Directive (to include risk management and environment). This will include COMAH, codes of practice and environmental law.

Health and Safety principles:
Chemical, physical and biological hazards. Storage, transportation and disposal including waste management. Plant Safety and Best Practice Legislation COSHH and COMAH. Risk hierarchy (i.e. eliminate, substitute, contain, protect workforce). Emergency planning. Protective equipment, training and management issues.

Process Safety:
Based on previous disasters, illustrating Safety, Health and Environment & Loss Prevention using case studies and videos of previous key incidents.

Risk and Safety Tools:
Hazard Operability (HAZOP), Hazard Analysis (HAZAN). As Low As Reasonably Practical (ALARP). Dangers, hazards, hazardous event and risks. Consequences, fire, explosion, toxic release. Types of risk, Individual Risk of Fatality (IRF). Derivation of safety targets for design. Unprotected hazards, protected hazards. Hazard rate calculations including examples demonstrating: demand rate, Failure rate, Probability of Failure on Demand (PFD). HAZOP, Fault tree analysis, HAZAN. Identification of hazards: A HAZOP assessment of hazards: HAZAN (hazard rates, fault trees, etc. targets: employees, public and consequences). Includes HAZOP workshop & assessments.

What is combustion? Fire triangle, combustion characteristics. Combustion in boilers, heaters, furnaces, flare stacks. Flammable by-products. Combustion in process plant, Incinerators. Estimation of heat loads from, and the effects of, combustion processes. Flame quenching, flame arresters, Ignition, Activation energy. Flame failure devices, Cause of flame failure. Flammability limits, Flame propagation in pipes. Deflagration - sub-sonic propagation, Detonation.

Engineering Practice

Testing and properties of materials:
Strength of materials:- basic concepts, Poisson's ratio, theories of failure. Bending of beams, combined bending and shearing. Torsion in shafts. Design of vessels, particularly pressure vessels, and the necessary codes of practice. Design of cylindrical and spherical vessels.

Process Utilities:
Steam systems, cooling water systems, cooling water treatment, boiler water treatment, ion exchange.

Electrical Utilities:
Single and 3-phase AC circuits (an overview), power factor, AC machines and their characteristics, flameproof and intrinsically safe equipment.

Heat Integration, Heat Exchange Utilities:
Graphical and numerical representations of a heat exchanger network.
Network synthesis based on 'pinch' design rules.
Flowsheet modelling and simulation.
Building physical property models and applying them in process simulation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture401:0040:00Synchronous online lectures and lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion71:007:00Heat Exchange Network Group Report (Max 3000 words), 6 students per group
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Exam Revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00HAZOP Oral Assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00EA1 Labs - synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00EA1 Labs - synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching151:0015:00Tutorials - synchronous online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1107:00107:00Review lecture notes. Solving questions for tutorial sessions.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship


Aspects of safety are introduced in logical steps, along with relevant industrial case studies, which illustrate and provide the reasons for the application of legislature as well as the tools and methods covered in the course.

Although formal lectures underpin the safety syllabus, the module contains practical sessions, which allow the students to apply and solve actual safety related engineering problems. For example, HAZOP provides scope for innovative and creative thinking, requiring the use of logical problem solving skills.

Engineering Practice:
The Engineering Practice element provides a basis for general engineering knowledge by use of lectures explaining the fundamental principles of process and electrical utilities, and practical laboratory exercises. The practical sessions outline procedures to solve problems and experiments to test hypotheses. These provide hands-on experience and enable critical thinking skills in learning and discovering.

Student should consult their individual timetable for up-to-date delivery information.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M8EA1 Practical report (max 250 words)
Prob solv exercises2M8HAZOP Oral Assessment (Group activity-600 words & tables), 6 students per group
Report2M14Heat Exchange Network, Group Report, 6 students per group (Max 2700 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module contains significant practical components, for example there are 2 workshops within the safety part and a range of lab work as part of the engineering practice topics. Therefore it is considered reasonable 30% of this module should be assessed as coursework.

The formal lectures in safety introduce the theoretical reasons and methods of safety. However, since safety is conceptually a frame of mind, assessed practical workshops are used to emphasise and establish the concepts to the student. For this reason 8% of the total is attributed to HAZOP.

Similarly the EA1 lab work represents a significant part of the engineering practice topics. Assessment is used to measure the understanding and the acquired practical ability students gain in understanding and carrying out experiments. An assessment share of 8% is considered appropriate to the amount of work students will do for this part of the module.

Students are expected to do a lot of coursework to successfully complete the Heat Exchange Network (HEN) coursework assignment. As a result 14% of the overall module mark is assigned to this.

The students' ability and comprehension of theoretical aspects in both safety and engineering practice will be assessed in a 2 hour written exam amounting to 70% of the total mark. This value will allow a sufficient depth and breadth of theoretical knowledge to be thoroughly examined.

Reading Lists