Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Gas and Vapor

Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Thermal Stability

Safe storage or processing requires an understanding of the possible hazards associated with sensitivity to variations in temperature

Adiabatic Calorimetry
Data demonstrate the consequences of process upsets, such as failed equipment or improper procedures, and guide mitigation strategies including Emergency Relief System (ERS) design
Reaction Calorimetry
Data yield heat and gas removal requirements to control the desired process chemistry
Battery Safety

Testing to support safe design of batteries and electrical power backup facilities particularly to satisfy UL9540a ed.4

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Cable Testing
Evaluate electrical cables to demonstrate reliability and identify defects or degradation
Equipment Qualification (EQ)
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Water Hammer
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent unwanted hydraulic pressure transients in process piping
Acoustic Vibration
Identify and eliminate potential sources of unwanted vibration in piping and structural systems
Gas & Air Intrusion
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent intrusion of gas or air in piping systems
ISO/IEC 17025:2017

Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the field of Testing

ISO 9001:2015
Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO 9001:2015
Dust Hazards Analysis
Evaluate your process to identify combustible dust hazards and perform dust explosion testing
On-Site Risk Management
On-site safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up
DIERS Methodology
Design emergency pressure relief systems to mitigate the consequences of unwanted chemical reactivity and account for two-phase flow using the right tools and methods
Deflagrations (Dust/Vapor/Gas)

Properly size pressure relief vents to protect your processes from dust, vapor, and gas explosions

Effluent Handling

Pressure relief sizing is just the first step and it is critical to safely handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

FATE™ & Facility Modeling

FATE (Facility Flow, Aerosol, Thermal, and Explosion) is a flexible, fast-running code developed and maintained by Fauske and Associates under an ASME NQA-1 compliant QA program.

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical
Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid, flow, and electric power systems
Hydrogen Safety
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Thermal Hydraulics
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Nuclear Safety
Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant
Radioactive Waste
Safety analysis to underpin decomissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials
Adiabatic Safety Calorimeters (ARSST and VSP2)

Low thermal inertial adiabatic calorimeters specially designed to provide directly scalable data that are critical to safe process design

Other Lab Equipment and Parts for the DSC/ARC/ARSST/VSP2 Calorimeters

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory


Software for emergency relief system design to ensure safe processing of reactive chemicals, including consideration of two-phase flow and runaway chemical reactions


Facility modeling software mechanistically tracks transport of heat, gasses, vapors, and aerosols for safety analysis of multi-room facilities


Our highly experienced team keeps you up-to-date on the latest process safety developments.

Process Safety Newsletter

Stay informed with our quarterly Process Safety Newsletters sharing topical articles and practical advice.


With over 40 years of industry expertise, we have a wealth of process safety knowledge to share.

Recent Posts

Speak Up Now: Process Safety Management (PSM) Standards Expansion

Posted by Fauske & Associates on 02.20.14


In response to Executive Order 13650, OSHA requests comment by March 10, 2014 on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management (PSM) and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents standard and its Explosives and Blasting Agents standard, potential updates to its Flammable Liquids standard and Spray Finishing standard, and potential changes to PSM enforcement policies. In this Request for Information (RFI), the Agency asks for information and data on specific rulemaking and policy options, and the workplace hazards they address. OSHA will use the information received in response to this RFI to determine what action, if any, it may take.

Following a series of recent disasters,  the President issued an executive order for OSHA  and other agencies to take steps to improve chemical facility safety and security.  Expansion of the PSM standard is under consideration.  In November, OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security hosted "listening sessions" to gather input from stakeholders.

Per the January 2014 issue of Safety & Health Magazine, OSHA is considering options to:

  • "clarify the PSM exemption for atmospheric storage tanks
  • expand coverage and requirements of reactivity hazards, and
  • cover the mechanical integrity of safety-critical equipment"

According to Amy Theis, Manager, Risk Management Services Fauske & Associates, LLC (FAI), “With these potential changes, companies should evaluate whether their facilities are adequately prepared for an OSHA PSM inspection.  It is helpful to be proactive in this effort.  An external PSM inspection can identify weaknesses in a company’s PSM program and potential OSHA violations, avoiding costly fines. Other options may include participation in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) or OSHA Consultation’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).  Ultimately, professional assistance is the most decisive and cost-effective option.”

In FAI's Fall 2011 Process Safety News, Tim Cullina, PE, Senior Consulting Engineer published:

Case Study: PSM Ignorance Resulted in Damaging Consequences

This case study highlights a recent project where a company did not properly implement Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) and other Process Safety Management (PSM) elements. Consequently, a series of events led to several explosions, contaminated water affecting surrounding neighborhoods, millions of dollars in EPA and OSHA fines and lost production time of 20 months over multiple product lines.  The series of events is outlined below followed by lessons learned and considerations for your own company’s PSM program.

Timeline of Critical Events
1:32 am     Lightning strike causes power outage
1:35 am     Back-up generator begins

      • Power restored to Control Room, water system, essential lighting systems
      • Process feed remains off
1:36 am Control Center Operator reports instrument failures 
      • Pressure and temperature gauges from reactors #1 and #2 are not reporting  
      • Temperatures in reactors #3, 4, and 5, are operating and within the acceptable range

1:38 am (Time est.) Production supervisor interrupts cooling water supply to maintain reactor temperatures  

      • This information is not immediately relayed to the control center

1:40 am Control Center reaches the Plant Owner/Operator by telephone and reports status
1:42 am Owner instructs them not to restart chemical supply; let the process cool down
1:45 am  Production supervisor tells Control Center that cooling water is shut down  

      • Control Center reports Plant Owner directive to Production Supervisor
1:50 am  Production supervisor tells Control Center that cooling water is available 
1:50-2:00 am     Control Center Operators report that temperature and pressure rise continue in reactors #3, 4, and 5
1:55 am  Control center requests reactor cooling assistance
      • First Fire Department responders arrive
      • Fire department directs plant to evacuate all non-essential personnel
2:01 am  Fire Fighters spraying water on reactors 
2:14 am  Reactor #1 explodes  
      • Small fires started
2:15 am   Control Center reports smoke and chemical odor coming in through ventilation system. 
      • Operators begin evacuation of Control Center
Later       Emergency generator shut down
      • Three more reactors fail during the evacuation

Fortunately, the explosions and fires caused no fatalities and only minor injuries.  Firefighters continued suppression activities for 10 hours.  During this time the effluent from the damaged process and water from the fire hoses eventually ran offsite, onto undeveloped property, and down to a local creek.  Assessments after the incident indicated a local fish kill. 

What Went Wrong?
Several elements of PSM were lacking at this facility; however, the root causes go much deeper.  Management did not establish a safety culture at this facility; the focus was on “desktop compliance”, not proper implementation. Resources were not deployed to achieve PSM compliance.

Lesson Learned
The following are some lessons learned and for key elements of the PSM program. 

Process Safety Information
The supervisor wanted to prevent a loss in production caused by an extended “cooling event” during an earlier incident.  Subsequent investigation revealed that the previous owner “ran hot” the last year to improve production numbers. The focus was on production, not on safety.
The PSI element requires complete and accurate process information sufficient to conduct PHAs, to support hazard communication requirements, and to document the design configuration of each process.  Specifically, the operators and production supervisor lacked a complete understanding of safe operating parameters and the potential consequences. The potential for a runaway reaction to occur if cooling (or power) was lost had not been investigated, documented or understood.

Process Hazard Analysis
The owner did not review the PHA.  None of the original participants of the PHA still worked on site. The PHA had been completed by a previous owner over ten years earlier and only revalidated. The revalidation was little more than a verification that the PHA report could be found if OSHA arrived on site.  There was no evidence that recommendations were tracked, evaluated, implemented or rejected. 

The objective of the PHA is to determine areas of excessive risk where preventative and mitigative measures may be warranted to better control the hazards.  Merely performing a PHA is not enough if it is not properly inclusive and the recommendations not followed up.  

Operating Procedures
Procedures did not include steps for emergency situations including a loss of power. 
Good procedures provide clear written instructions for safely conducting activities of each covered process.  These instructions should address operating limits, safety and health considerations, and safety systems and their functions.  Procedures need to exist for every mode of operation such as routine start up and shut down, and emergency situations.  Note that this element also includes maintenance procedures.

Mechanical Integrity
A written MI program did not exist but a preventive maintenance schedule did.  The PM schedule included pumps, heat exchangers, the emergency generator, and the pressure relief valves. However, accurate records of PM were not maintained.  Completed work orders were stored in a desk drawer.

A robust MI program will ensure the integrity and safe operation of process equipment through inspection, testing, preventive maintenance, and quality assurance.  This element is one of the most cited PSM elements by OSHA.

Management of Change
There was an MOC Program.  Unfortunately there was no apparent linkage between MOC, PSI, Training and PHA.

The plant operators must establish and implement written procedures to manage changes (except for replacements in kind) to process chemicals, technology, equipment, and procedures, and to facilities that affect a covered process.  Changes that effect or alter PSI must be integrated through the other elements.

PSM Due Diligence in Mergers & Acquisitions
The company that experienced this loss had recently acquired the reactive chemical processing plant approximately 6 months earlier. A due diligence process was completed that considered environmental and plant safety factors.  The ASTM Phase 1 and 2 inspections provided no show stoppers. The safety review efforts raised no workman compensation flags and no history with OSHA.  In fact, the incident rate bettered the industry average. 

The owner accepted responsibility for PSM as part of the due diligence process. He only considered 2 of the PSM elements and did not have the time or expertise to address them properly. The cost of PSM compliance was not understood because the owner did not perform a gap analysis.

FAI is focused on providing customers safety solutions to identify and prevent such high risk events from causing devastating consequences such as these. FAI offers PSM development & support as well as due diligence assistance for Mergers and Acquisitions or compliance auditing purposes.  

FAI has extensive experience performing safety reviews for hazardous processes, PSM evaluations and chemical engineering support. This includes more than 34 years of hazardous system testing and categorization. “PSM areas of specialty at FAI include Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) and reactive system testing that supports the element  of Process Safety Information (PSI),” states Theis.  "FAI’s experience in this area makes us uniquely qualified to facilitate and support PHA’s for reactive chemical systems. 

READER NOTE:  Submit comments and additional material for OSHA's request to:  Request for Information by March 10, 2014.

For more information on PSM, PHA, and other Risk Management Services, please contact Jeff Griffin at 630-887-5278,,

Understanding Recently Issued OSHA PSM NEP:  Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals


Topics: Process Safety, Process Hazards Analysis, Reactive Chemicals


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