Malaysian students awarded new IChemE SIESO Medal

Article by Amanda Jasi

From left to right: Chee Kean Looi, IChemE President Ken Rivers, Tze Lin Kok, and Yeuan Jer Choong

ICHEME has awarded the new SIESO Medal, a student process safety award, to four chemical engineering students at Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia for their compelling project on the issues that led to the Bhopal, India gas leak disaster.

They were presented with their medals by IChemE President Ken Rivers on 24 September at Hazards Asia Pacific, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

IChemE members Tze Lin Kok and Jing Han Siow, along with Yeuan Jer Choong and Chee Kean Looi were awarded the medal for their entry The Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The Scar of Process Safety – a paper giving a thought-provoking overview of the Bhopal disaster, accompanied by two posters.

The students were commended by the judges for the innovative and visually striking way they highlighted some of the main facts and issues associated with the Bhopal disaster.

The judging panel also highly commended entries from Janet Skitt and Benjamin Khoo of Imperial College London for their paper The 1973 Summerland Disaster – Lessons to the Building Industry from the Process Industry, and Alex Norman and his team from the University of Manchester, UK for their paper and video documentary on Safety Under Scrutiny: Flixborough 1974.

Fiona Macleod, Chair of the IChemE Loss Prevention Panel and member of the medal judging panel, said:

“Congratulations to Tze Lin Kok, Yeuan Jer Choong, Chee Kean Looi, and Jing Han Siow. The judges were impressed by the creative and visually striking way the team from Malaysia explored the causes and consequences of a tragic disaster. They researched the incident thoroughly and used simple images to tell a complex story.

“Well done to all who entered for the award, it was refreshing to see student perspectives on process safety.

“Chemical engineers have special skills, and with this comes a special responsibility to communicate clearly across disciplines, from the board room to the shop floor, to ensure that inherently safer designs are coupled with robust process safety management so that a tragedy like the one in Bhopal in 1984, can never happen again.”

The SIESO Medal

The SIESO medal is named after the Society of Industrial Emergency Services Officers, which towards the end of its life used the term SIESO to promote itself as an organisation that Shared Information and Experience for Safer Operation.

SIESO ceased operations in 2018 and bequeathed the bulk of its reserves to IChemE to help raise awareness of process safety among science, business, and engineering students.

The SIESO Medal will be awarded annually to an individual or a group of up to six students for the best multi-media presentation about a major accident and the process safety learning outcomes. Entries are judged by a sub-committee of IChemE’s Loss Prevention Panel and, along with the Medal, the winning team will also receive prize money of £750 (US$926).

Nominations are now open for IChemE’s 2020 medals and prizes, and close on 31 October 2019. Entries for the 2020 SIESO Medal close on 27 March 2020. Find out more and submit an entry to the SIESO or another IChemE medal at the IChemE Medals and prizes page.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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