Bits & Bytes
CHEMICAL MISHAPS--IN YOUR PC
STUDIES HAVE SHOWN that fatal accidents at chemical plants often come about as the result of well-intentioned but misguided changes in a factory's equipment or its operation. For instance, replacing a worn-out pump with the wrong model or raising a factory's production rate above a certain ceiling may easily lead to major trouble.
To help make workers more alert to such possibilities, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers has brought out simulation-based training software. The Management of Change program, available for use on IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers, runs the trainees through involved and potentially dangerous procedures such as cleaning and reloading a catalytic reactor. If the trainee uses too potent a cleaning chemical, say, or misreads a pressure gauge, the program signals a toxic release or a fatal explosion. Even at $895 a copy, the program is less expensive, Institute officials reckon, than using traditional classroom instruction, and it may make a stronger impression on workers.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG