“An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it.”  -Dee Hock

May 22 marks our tenth anniversary. We began with one purpose: to make the world a safer place. Started in 2008 at the request of its first customer, Bluefield Process Safety has grown from three clients in three states its first year to over 70 companies and over 300 sites. We’ve worked on projects in over 30 states and on every continent except Antarctica.

Bluefield’s work falls in three areas: consultation, facilitation, and instruction. While consulting and facilitating are the work we are called to do most often, it is the area of teaching others how to be safe where we believe we have made the biggest difference in making the world a safer place.

College Classes

Shortly after Bluefield Process Safety started, I was invited to teach a senior/graduate level class on industrial safety at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. A year later, the university agreed to let us develop an advanced course on process safety and process risk management. The staff at Bluefield have all been involved in both courses, developing lecture material, homework assignments, projects, and exam questions, as well as in grading. In the years since I became an adjunct professor, we’ve had almost 750 students in our classes, of whom almost 200 have qualified for and received the OSHA General Industry 10-hour card as part of completing the course requirements.

Some students from the process risk management class have participated in the student paper competition of Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division of the ASME. Three have been recognized as writing winning papers:

2014-Ashtyn Baldas, “The Crude Truth: The Risks of Rail, Tankcar, and Pipeline Crude Oil Transport”-First place

2015-Thomas Wesselmann, “The Fear of Going Nuclear: Nuclear Power Plant Utilization in the United States”-First place

2017-Ryan Hanify, “Civilian Drone Safety Concerns in America,”-Second place

Presentations and Papers

Since its inception in 2008, Bluefield has welcomed opportunities to share any insights into process safety. This has included formal presentation of 28 separate papers at conferences and symposia, ranging from the Global Congress on Process Safety sponsored by the AIChE and the International Symposium on Process Safety sponsored by the Mary Kay O’Conner Process Safety Center at Texas A&M, to local meetings of the ISA. We encourage everyone who works at Bluefield to write and present—the 28 papers represent the work of eight different people.

Of those 28 presentations, five have been published subsequently in the two leading journals on process safety, Process Safety Progress (AIChE) and The Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries (Elsevier). They are

“A Tale of Two Plants,” PSP, 2012.

“Villains, Victims, and Heroes,” JLP, 2013

“Making Sense of Risk Tolerance Criteria,” JLP, 2016

“Atmospheric Tank Failures,” PSP, 2017

“Containing Hydrogen Deflagrations,” JLP, 2018


As valuable as papers and publications are, the blog has become the modern means of communicating ideas to as wide an audience as possible. The first blog from Bluefield was posted on Chemicals and Materials, Now!, at the invitation of the site’s host, Elsevier, on December 11, 2015. It was called “Finding What You’re Looking For: Safety Investigations.” Since then, Bluefield has posted 80 more original blogs, moving from posting monthly on other sites to posting weekly on our own site. Everyone at Bluefield has insights into safety and everyone is encouraged to share those insights with blog.

One of our most successful bloggers is Kayla Whelehon. Her background is in psychology, but she came to work with us when after developing an interest in process safety. The most popular blog we have ever posted is her discussion of the difference between occupational safety and process safety. And her blog, “A Beginner’s Guide to Process Safety,” still gets hits.

A Good Team

I am blessed to have excellent colleagues with whom to work. They are smart, energetic, hard-working, and fun to be around. To a person, they have a passion for making the world a safer place. They keep me on my toes. I’m excited to see what the next ten years look like.

 Photo credit:  Pixabay

Join Us in Celebrating

Whether you are a client, a student or former student, or simply someone who has stumbled across our work and finds it interesting, please join us in celebrating 10 years as an organization. We’re glad to be doing what we do and are delighted at your support.