As a waterfront city, Boston is particularly vulnerable to impacts from climate change and severe weather. From astronomically high tides to storm surges or hurricane-force winds, unusual patterns create potentially dangerous situations for the many homes and businesses in the vicinity of industries that handle, store, or use hazardous chemicals. Industrial accidents from these changes can have catastrophic results.
But business and industry can take steps to mitigate and avoid the risk of industrial accidents that happen when areas with hazardous chemicals flood. A team of WPI students recently completed their Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP)—a project that requires teams to delve into problems that matter to real people—to find out what kinds of training programs are most effective for businesses that want to reduce the risk of chemical releases from industrial accidents.
Working with the project’s sponsor, the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA), the students’ work involved helping make training sessions more effective for industry and businesses around the Commonwealth. With the results, they made recommendations for how the OTA can help businesses understand their risk and reduce it.
The team of four—biomedical engineering major Matt Cannata, mechanical engineering and computer science major Przemyslaw Gardias, chemical engineering major Shaye Johnstone, and computer science major Daniel Sullivan—worked at WPI’s Boston Project Center in the Seaport district.
“The students helped us evaluate our training program to prevent industrial accidents,” says Tiffany Skogstrom, outreach and policy coordinator at the OTA.