Conservation of Life As a Unifying Theme For Process Safety in Chemical Engineering Education


  • James A. Klein DuPont, North America Operations
  • Richard A. Davis University of Minnesota


This paper explores the use of “conservation of life” as a concept and unifying theme for increasing awareness, application, and integration of process safety in chemical engineering education. Students need to think of conservation of mass, conservation of energy, and conservation of life as equally important in engineering design and analysis. By giving them appropriate tools for evaluating and implementing conservation of life principles, we can help them to better understand “what all this safety talk is about,” and what their role is in contributing to process safety in the chemical engineering field.

Author Biographies

James A. Klein, DuPont, North America Operations

James Klein is a Sr. PSM Competency Consultant, North America PSM Co-lead, at DuPont. He has more than 30 years experience in process engineering, research, operations, and safety. He received his chemical engineering degrees from MIT (B.S.) and Drexel (M.S.) and also has an M.S. in management of technology from the University of Minnesota.

Richard A. Davis, University of Minnesota

Richard Davis is a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where he teaches computational methods, heat and mass transfer, green engineering, and separations. His current research interests include process modeling and simulation applied to energy conversion, pollution control, and environmental management in mineral processing. He received his chemical engineering degrees from Brigham Young University (B.S.) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (Ph.D.).