BPE wins award for contribution to safety

A design methodology that has the potential to help secure dramatic reduction in the risk of dust explosions in manufacturing centres and laboratories across the world has won an industry award.

BPE, one of the country’s leading chemical and biochemical engineering design firms, picked up the HazardEx ‘Contribution to Safety’ award last night (March 2) for its work in targeting a reduction in the risk of dust explosions.

The new methodology came about after BPE identified that while there is a clear legal requirement to reduce the risk from explosive dusts and carry out a hazardous area classification, no rigorous yet simple step-by-step approach existed.

Determined to make a change, BPE decided to create a toolkit to help process engineers explore the risks and provide practical solutions to help to secure targeted reduction in the risk of dust explosions.

The toolkit takes a step-wise approach and, innovatively, focuses on sources of dispersion rather than sources of release. This is because in the case of dust explosions most hazardous zones are inside equipment rather than outside and therefore arise from dispersion mechanisms, not release mechanisms.

The toolkit has already proven successful, having been implemented at a number of different sites including a pharmaceutical solid dosage plant, a creams manufacturing plant and a site that produces equipment for shot blasting metal and plastic parts.

BPE has also worked to share this new way of working with the wider industry. Scores of process engineers and manufacturers across the UK have learnt about the toolkit through a series of webinars and it’s hoped that the approach will be adopted by many more as it is promoted within the industry. BPE have also used the toolkit as the basis for an in-house training programme for one of the UK’s biggest automotive manufacturers.

Mike Brown, managing director of BPE, said: “We are thrilled to have won this award. We are constantly looking at how we can use our deep knowledge of the scientific principles behind engineering to improve safety and efficiency for our clients. This project is just one example and we’re delighted that it’s been recognised by our industry peers.”

BPE’s approach to dust explosion risk is currently in the running for another award. Staff will find out if they have won a Chemicals North West Award on March 30.

BPE has been helping manufacturers make their processes safer and more efficient since 1997. It offers a full range of process engineering services, including process modelling, process safety, project management and process development/scale-up support. Specialising in chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, BPE counts some of the UK’s biggest blue-chip manufacturers among its clients.

Watch a video about BPE’s approach to dust explosions.