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Importance Of An Hse Engineer In The Chemical Process Industry

Importance Of An Hse Engineer In The Chemical Process Industry To begin with, let me inform the readers of my blog that I do have basic knowledge related to "Health, Safety & Environmental" (HSE) engineering but I am not an expert on the subject.

In one of my previous jobs, there was a separate process engineering department with about 15 engineers who were led by me and a separate HSE department led by another person who had a very small team of 3 engineers. The company was quoting for stand-alone HSE jobs and to cope up with the work load I had lent some process engineers to the HSE engineering team. Many of the engineers were quite young and were not really enthusiastic about doing HSE engineering, considering that doing HSE engineering was detrimental to their future career.

In order to put at rest, any doubts related to the role and importance of an HSE engineer, I had to give them a long lecture regarding the benefits of working as a HSE engineer.

Today's blog entry puts in perspective the role and importance of a HSE engineer in the chemical process industry.

Let us begin with the academic credentials required to be a HSE engineer. Ideally a chemical engineering degree would be the best way to start as a HSE engineer. A master's degree, diploma or certificate course in HSE engineering from a recognized university or institute would be an added advantage. One of the best HSE engineering course being run as a master's program in India is at the "University of Petroleum and Energy Studies", Dehradun. For young Indian chemical engineers this would be an ideal platform to acquire learning in HSE engineering and become a qualified HSE professional.

For deatils on this course refer the link below:


Another top notch graduate engineering course related to "fire safety" in India is available at the "National Fire Safety College" at Nagpur, India. Details for the institute and the course can be found at the following link:


The first question that would arise in any engineer's mind is what are the rewards and remuneration for being a HSE engineer. Let me assure any doubting thomases, that as on today HSE engineers are amongst the best paid and most respected professionals in the chemical process industry. This is specifically true in industries such as upstream oil and gas and refining. In the western part of the world where HSE is given a top priority, HSE engineers command a premium salary. As awareness about health, safety and environment increases in other parts of the world and with tightening regulations related to HSE by local governments, HSE engineers have found increase in their demand in parts of the world where HSE was earlier given a short shrift. In a nutshell, today a HSE engineer is getting his or her due recognition as an important member of the global engineering community and a highly paid professional.

The second question that arises in any young engineers mind is what are some of the core activities that a HSE engineer does. Although not being an expert I am listing down some of the activities that a HSE engineer requires to perform as part of his job profile. These are listed point wise and references as web links are provided for further details on these activities wherever available

1. Fire & Gas Detection Philosophy

2. Fire & Gas Detection Equipment Layout

3. Firewater and Foam Protection Systems

4. Firewater & Foam Demand Calculations

5. Portable Systems for fire protection

6. Passive Fire Protection Systems

7. Safety Plan

8. Escape Route Plan

9. Risk Assessment (Qualitative and Quantitative)
Refer link below for details on risk assessment:




10. Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) Studies (Refer Link below)


11. Hazard Identification (HAZID) Studies (Refer Link below for definition)


12. Hazard & Operability (HAZOP) Studies

I had a made a blog entry regarding HAZOP back in October 2010 with an attachment having the title "Process Guidelines for Conducting a HAZOP Review" which was liked by many and I am once again providing the link for the same:


Also refer the wikipedia link for HAZOP at:


13. Dispersion Analysis for heat radiation and toxic chemicals using advanced dispersion software such as DNV PHAST and SHELL FRED. For more details refer the links below:




14. Environmental Impact Assessment (Refer the links below):



15. Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Studies (Refer the links below):



The activities that are listed above are very broad in nature. When coming to specifics, a lot more challenging work would be encountered by any HSE engineer. One role which brings a HSE engineer to the forefront is the role of a HAZID or HAZOP facilitator or chairperson, where his or her knowledge as well as oratorial skills are put to the test. I know quite a few freelance HSE experts who are busy conducting HAZID and HAZOP studies round the year and making good money for their efforts.

To conclude the blog entry, HSE engineering is one of the most promising areas in the chemical process industry and I would advise all young engineers that if they have an opportunity to take up HSE engineering as a full fledged career option they should grab it with both hands.

I hope to get some comments from the members and readers of "Cheresources" on my blog entry.


Dear sir,

This blog entry is very interesting.
my all doubts about HSE is cleared.

Thankyou sir. i am expecting some more details about HSE Engineer.
Mar 25 2012 01:43 AM
assalam o aliakum
very nice sir
Mar 25 2012 10:36 AM
Dear ankur ,
Thanks for sharing, can you tell some good colleges for correspondence courses
so that we can do the same while working
for HES.


Just google "Distance Learning in HSE", and you should get several hits.

dear ankur, u r thoughts are too much valuable to us. Thanks

I really do agree that many young professionals are unaware of the opportunities that a job as an HSE manager or engineer can have.

There is a straightforward introduction to HSE management (a small book with only 88 pages and many examples):


This may serve as a useful reading resource to make clear what HSE management is all about and which concepts and methods are used.

Best regards.

Apr 23 2014 04:19 AM

Dear Mr Ankur, 


Would you please comment on the value and effectiveness of NEBOSH certificate in the field of HSE in process industry.


1. NEBOSH International General Certificate (NEBOSH IGC)

2. NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas (NEBOSH OIGC)


Best Regards


Dear processengbd,


since Ankur has not yet answered, just a short comment from my side:


I have been working in HSE management in Europe for 20 years now, inlcuding 7 years in a UK based company, but I have never heard about NEBOSH before. According to information in the internet, their certificates seem to be popular in the UK. Still, none of my UK-based HSE-colleagues ever mentioned NEBOSH nor held one of their certificates.


To my mind, such certificates are as good and as bad as certificates of any other institution. All that counts is what a person makes out of such a qualification.


Kind regards.

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