Jeff Rothgeb, safety, health and environmental adviser at Croda, Inc.'s Mill Hall plant discussed process safety to the local Community Advisory Council recently.
"Process safety is what goes on behind the scenes to keep the community safe," he explained. "Croda believes safety is most important and they take the time to ensure safety in every project," he added.
Rothgeb began his presentation by noting there are two kinds of safety vital to Croda, personal and process. Personal safety is the protection of personnel against injuries. Process safety is protection from catastrophic events at the plant. Both types are important but they are measured and must be protected in different ways.
To illustrate the difference, he used an example from the airline industry. That industry has many back injuries to baggage handlers and a huge amount of effort is spent on trying to prevent this type of personal injury. But these efforts won't reduce the number of plane crashes; that requires a totally different type of effort - rocess safety. "If all your time is spent in only personal safety," Rothgeb said, "it may not prevent a process safety incident from occurring."
At the Mill Hall plant, Croda builds in layers of process safety, beginning with the control and monitoring of process systems. It adds protection with back-up control and mitigation systems.
In addition, the plant has emergency response procedures in place with an annual training for all employees. Croda also works with local emergency responders and the Department of Emergency Services with annual drills held. All these efforts are in place to keep employees and the community safe.
"Process Safety is built into any new project being considered," Rothgeb said, taking the CAC members step by step through a project from concept to reality. In the steps to completion of any project, there are numerous hazard studies conducted to prevent any possible process safety issues. Because of the detail involved, projects can take many years to complete to provide maximum safety.
One local project that is nearing completion is the new railcar unloading area. Previously the unloading area was near the main building and as part of the sites risk mitigation activities the area has been moved far away from other buildings.
Council members were given a guided tour of the new railcar unloading area and shown the multiple safety mechanisms that are in place. This project has been more than four years in design and implementation. It was managed by in-house engineers and most of the construction was done by local contractors.
The Croda Community Advisory Council was established in 2001 to better educate the community about Croda and to enhance peoples' understanding of the local manufacturer. The council meets every other month, and membership includes people from all walks of local life. Current members are Rob Getz, Fred Hoy, Gary Mellott, Betty Packer, Sue Peters, Michelle Rae, Nicole Rall-Miller, April Strouse, Eric Stover, Michelle Walizer, and Tom Walker.
Croda Inc. operates the Mill Hall manufacturing facility in Bald Eagle Township.