People → 

Process safety

Process safety: a strategic priority for the sector

Source: essenscia survey among its Seveso members
*The Process Safety Event Rate (PSER) is obtained by the following formula : (Total Process Safety Events / Total Hours employees and contractants) x 200,000 (PSER is normalized per 100 employees where anemployee works 2,000 hours a year)

Process safety is of prime importance in the chemical and life sciences industry. This requires an effective process safety management system that enables the identification, elimination, reduction and mitigation of risks resulting from operations.

Since the ‘80s, the sector has been committed to Responsible Care, with safety being a top priority for the chemical and life sciences industry. This commitment is reflected in ongoing efforts to embed safety in processes, making the sector one of the safest in the industry.

In order to demonstrate the sector’s performance in terms of process safety, essenscia collects process safety indicators every year and communicates them to Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council. For several years, essenscia has been collecting the Process Safety Event Rate via a survey of Seveso member companies (see graph above)

The essenscia sectoral federation has also developed several initiatives to improve the performance of companies in the sector in terms of process safety. In particular, the federation provides companies training courses at various levels, organized in collaboration with various universities.

Through the “Club Sécurité des Procédés” and the Process Safety Academy, essenscia invests in general and advanced training on process safety. The platform runs several initiatives in close collaboration with stakeholders:

  • the creation and coordination of an Advanced Master in Safety Engineering within the Department of Chemical Engineering of the KU Leuven (the Catholic University of Leuven)
  • the development of several modules on process safety such as theAdvanced Course on Process Safety” for experienced engineers and six specialized courses on process safety in collaboration with, among others, UGent (University of Ghent), including a “Course on Human and Organizational Factors
  • the development of a new Advanced Course specifically for the Life sciences industry
  • the organization of various workshops where experts can exchange experiences and best practices in process safety and their process safety management system

The sector has, in Flanders and Wallonia, two dedicated training centres: ACTA and aptaskil. ACTA organises training in automation and process technology for process operators. aptaskil is a training centre for jobs in production, maintenance and research in the chemical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnological industries.

In addition, PlastIQ offers tailor-made training courses for the plastics processing industry in Flanders and in 2021 the new ViTalent training centre for life sciences industries started its activities in Niel in the province of Antwerp.

All of these training centers are supported by the Co-valent sector fund.