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The pharmaceutical industry is a multibillion-dollar global industry that covers the manufacturing and distribution of drugs and medication.
The Role of Chemical Processing in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Engineers in the pharmaceutical industry make use of the different branches of chemistry, including organic, computational, and analytical. In organic chemistry, they use organic compounds to develop new medicines. Computational chemistry focuses on the study and design of molecular structures and chemical compounds. Lastly, analytic chemistry is needed to ensure the safety, stability, and efficacy of drugs.
However, professionals use two main processes to manufacture pharmaceuticals: chemical synthesis and bioprocessing. The former is based on chemical reactions, while the latter is rooted in the ability of microorganisms and cells to produce useful substances. In many cases, solvents and other combustible substances are used in addition to the actual raw material to create a specific byproduct.
Common Hazards and Incidents in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Fire and Explosion
Two of the most common risks in the pharmaceutical industry are fires and explosions. These highly dangerous occurrences can lead to severe consequences, such as loss of life, property damage, or product contamination.
This exothermic reaction is brought about by different process deviations in the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the more common causes include the introduction of an incorrect material or the loss of coolant or agitation.
Potential dust explosions are occurrences that are often overlooked in the pharmaceutical industry. Bulk powders can form dust clouds that have a static charge. These airborne components can ignite and burn easily when exposed to heat.
This is a significant risk for all industries, especially for those who work with chemicals daily. However, the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals can be minimized by wearing protective gear and adhering to safety procedures.
Drugs used to treat diseases or reduce their side effects are generally highly toxic, even at low doses. Any prolonged exposure to these substances may cause serious incapacitation, chronic health effects, and more.
Our team at Saltegra can provide you with PHA/HAZOP facilitation, PSM/RMP/CalARP program development, LOPA facilitation, bowtie facilitation, training and coaching, and compliance audits to ensure that you follow both state and federal regulations. Feel free to reach out to us today for more information about our company and what we offer.