About Mike Schmidt

With a career in the CPI that began in 1977 with Union Carbide, Mike was profoundly impacted by the 1984 tragedy in Bhopal and has been working on process safety ever since.

Spreading OSHA’s Wings: Expanding the Scope of PSM

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new one.”  [...]

By |2022-09-22T15:56:11+00:00September 22nd, 2022|Current Events, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Spreading OSHA’s Wings: Expanding the Scope of PSM

Just Two Breaths

“I love to breath. Oxygen is sexy.”  — Kris Carr How long can you hold your breath? One minute? Two minutes? Pearl divers have been known to hold their breaths for over 10 minutes. When we’re breathing, though, it’s at a rate of between 8 and 20 breaths per minutes. So, many find it difficult [...]

By |2022-09-15T18:04:43+00:00September 15th, 2022|Gas, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Just Two Breaths

I Can’t Breathe: Asphyxia in the Process Industries

“Suffocation is a cruel way to go.”  — Arlaina Tibensky I usually think of process safety hazards as being related to fire, explosions, or toxic releases. There is another process hazard, however, doesn’t necessarily depend on any of these. It’s asphyxiation—death due to an inability to get enough oxygen to the body. Asphyxiation is not [...]

By |2022-08-18T20:01:29+00:00August 18th, 2022|Chemicals, Gas, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on I Can’t Breathe: Asphyxia in the Process Industries

Just Water? Process Hazards of H2O

“It is with our passions as it is with fire and water; they are good servants but bad masters.”  — Aesop A common trope of Hazard Communication training is for the instructor to share an SDS of “dihydrogen oxide” with the class and to review all the dangers of this “hazardous chemical”. Then, in a [...]

By |2022-08-11T18:09:25+00:00August 11th, 2022|Current Events, Process Safety|Comments Off on Just Water? Process Hazards of H2O

Accidental Release Reporting: Data from the CSB

“There are two kinds of learning: experience, which is gained from your own mistakes, and wisdom, which is learned from the mistakes of others.”  — John C. Maxwell The Chemical Safety Board is not an enforcement agency. So, it came as a shock to many when the CSB issued the Accidental Release Report Rule (40 [...]

By |2022-08-04T15:24:58+00:00August 4th, 2022|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Accidental Release Reporting: Data from the CSB

Not Just PPE—The Right PPE!

“The hardest choices in life aren’t between what’s right and what’s wrong but between what’s right and what’s best.”  — Jamie Ford Most of the chemical plants I’ve ever worked in or visited required specific kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE). Usually, hard hats, safety shoes, and safety glasses with side shields were the minimum [...]

By |2022-07-28T13:43:13+00:00July 28th, 2022|Training, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Not Just PPE—The Right PPE!

Recent Explosions in St. Louis: Lessons for Process Safety

“It always seems impossible until done.”  — Nelson Mandela There are dozens of motivational posters available that encourage us all to believe that we can do the impossible. They intend to inspire us to reach for the stars. But there is also a dark side to achieving the impossible. It’s when the impossible we are [...]

By |2022-07-15T14:14:53+00:00July 15th, 2022|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|Comments Off on Recent Explosions in St. Louis: Lessons for Process Safety

Unavailability During Proof Tests: What Do You Do?

“…there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it, it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead)…”  — Neil Gaiman, in American Gods Erwin Schrödinger never intended his thought experiment about a cat in box to launch [...]

By |2022-06-30T15:48:00+00:00June 30th, 2022|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Unavailability During Proof Tests: What Do You Do?

Consider: A Weasel Word?

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.” — Benjamin Franklin The first time you ever encountered a weasel word was probably when your mom said, “Maybe,” or [...]

By |2022-06-02T13:30:01+00:00June 2nd, 2022|Chemicals, PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|Comments Off on Consider: A Weasel Word?

The Chemical Process Industries: Getting Safer?

“My first customer was a lunatic. My second had a death wish.”  — Karl Benz We want to get safer. We invest enormous resources in making the world a safer place. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t seem like we’re making much progress, especially when we’ve just experienced a catastrophic event. Instead, it seems like we just [...]

By |2022-05-26T15:55:08+00:00May 26th, 2022|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on The Chemical Process Industries: Getting Safer?
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