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Pfizer Wins Responsible Care Award, Centred on CIT Taught Process Safety Module

16 October, 2014

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Ireland has recently been successful in winning a national Responsible Care Award in the areas of “leading edge approaches to achieving Health & Safety excellence” for their work in the area of building process safety knowledge in their plant in Little Island. The journey to this award began back in 2012 where CIT and Pfizer Little Island partnered to develop a module on chemical process safety that complemented the normal operating practices on the site, by providing a theoretical background and broad commentary on the existing good practices.

Specifically this project embodied their commitment to creating a safer site, a more engaged workforce and ultimately creating a positive culture with respect to Health and Safety in the workplace. The development team consisted of CIT’s Pat Kennedy, aided by Noel Duffy, both in the Dept of Process, Energy and Transport Engineering, who worked closely with Pfizer’s Shane Horgan, EHS Team Lead at Little Island, supported by Michael Lynch, the site’s process safety specialist to develop the module. Together the team examined the material that is already part of CIT’s undergraduate chemical engineering degree, considered the implications for pharmaceutical manufacture and the particular needs of the Little Island site.

Process safety expertise can traditionally lie with limited numbers of experts on a site – this inititative educates non process safety experts on the fundamentals of process safety: outlooks and perspectives change, participation and understanding increases. This newly developed module engages staff across all levels of the organisation and is collaborative and innovative in its approach. It gives people, regardless of their role, the opportunity to understand the importance of ‘Process Safety’. The module, Chemical Process Safety (CHEP8023), provides single subject certification at NFQ Level 8 for successful participants. It provides a thorough grounding in the issues that must be considered when assessing the hazards arising from the processing of chemicals on an industrial level. It was devised to provide a ‘high-level’ view of the fundamentals, an orientation to the needs of the sector and a sharp focus on local operations. When combined with Chemical Safety Applications (CHEP8024), it leads to a Special Purpose Award: Certificate in Chemical Process Safety. Teaching sessions were delivered once per week, either on-site or close-by. Case studies were emphasised at each session and the implications for the site considered. Topics covered included: hazard identification methods, inherent properties of chemicals, reaction safety, implications of the COMAH Directive, consequence estimation and management, etc.

Assessment consisted of assignments throughout the module’s delivery and a terminal exam. Delivery of the module embodies the site commitment to becoming an injury and incident free environment through the creation of an interdependent health and safety culture and is a great source of information, knowledge sharing, motivation and above all a platform to recognise the health and safety results achieved and vision for the future.

Now being delivered to the fourth participant group, it has also been adopted in Pfizer’s Ringaskiddy site. This national award recognises the success of Pfizer and CIT’s co-operation. It acknowledges the benefits for an organisation of continued education and staff development and highlights the potential applicability of a similar approach to other companies.

If you are an employer, a customised course may be the solution to your employee learning and development needs. If you would like to explore ways in which you or your organisation can engage with CIT please feel free to contact us.

Email: or phone 021 4335302.