The generalised thermal parametric sensitivity criterion is applied to the thermal behaviour of the esterification of 2-butanol with propionic anhydride in a batch reactor under isoperibolic conditions. The reaction is catalysed by sulphuric acid, and the study covered the effects of both catalyst concentration and, in the absence of catalyst, jacket temperature. The experimental location of regions of parametric sensitivity agreed well with theoretical predictions. However, the process conditions that meet conventional standards for safe process design fall into the supercritical sensitivity region of the parametric model. This apparently contradictory result is discussed. The usefulness of the parametric sensitivity approach is illustrated by practical examples of scale-up and heat transfer in reactions prone to thermal runaway.