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.

Out of Harm’s Way: Using Drones to Fight Chemical Plant Fires

“Running toward danger is foolhardy. But so is closing your eyes to it. Many perils become less dangerous once you understand their potential hazards.”  — Brandon Mull On Thursday, April 29, at about 2:30 pm, neighbors reported several explosions at the Manor Chemical Company in Affton, Missouri, a suburb on the southwest side of St. [...]

By |2021-05-06T14:59:54+00:00May 6th, 2021|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

DHAs: An OSHA Requirement?

“Speed limit 55. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.”  — Advertising Council and U.S. Department of Transportation (1977) Ever since the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published the 2019 Edition of NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, which states in §7.1.1.2 that a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) must be [...]

The Next Thing You Know: PSM-Covered Warehousing

“On the first day of school, you got to be real careful where you sit. You walk into the classroom and just plunk your stuff down on any old desk, and the next thing you know the teacher is saying, ‘I hope you all like where you’re sitting, because these are your permanent seats.’”  — [...]

Just Paint? Fire and Explosion in Ohio

“Never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of white paint.”  — Jeremiah Brent Shortly after midnight on Thursday, April 8, there was a fire and explosion at the OPC Polymers unit of the Yenkin-Majestic Paint facility in Columbus, Ohio. One employee died, five employees were hospitalized, and four others were also injured. “But it’s [...]

The Dose Makes the Poison

“All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.”  — Paracelsus Have you ever noticed that news accounts about incidents in the process industries never talk about “chemicals”? No, the writer always refers to “toxic chemicals”. As though you can’t say one without [...]

By |2021-03-25T16:18:42+00:00March 25th, 2021|Chemicals, Process Safety|0 Comments

Don’t Want No Static

“Electricity can be dangerous. My nephew tried to stick a penny into a plug. Whoever said a penny doesn’t go far didn’t see him shoot across that floor. I told him he was grounded.”  — Tim Allen When I was fresh out of grad school, I had a job in process development. One project involved [...]

Combustible Dust Tests: Now What?

“We have first raised a dust and then complain we cannot see.”  — George Berkeley You don’t need to be convinced that combustible dusts are hazardous. You’ve seen the photographs of demolished grain elevators, of the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia looking like the Dresden firebombing in World War II. You’ve heard about [...]

Process Safety Beyond the Fence Line

“I’m an actor… I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don’t ask a truck driver about his job.”  — James Gandolfini I’ve been struck recently by how much we don’t talk about process safety once the hazardous chemicals we make have been loaded and shipped. Process Hazard [...]

By |2021-02-18T17:00:43+00:00February 18th, 2021|Chemicals, PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Operator Errors: Are They Really Design Errors?

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”  — Alexander Pope I was in a PHA once where the lone operator on the PHA team finally grew weary of the discussion of operator error.  “Why is it that when you engineers make a mistake, you call it design error, but when I make a mistake, you [...]

Simple Asphyxiation: The Tragedy in Gainesville

“It is these properties that make materials so useful that also pose hazards to health and property.”  — Peter Lodal Liquid nitrogen has some wonderful properties. It is really, really cold, so it is great for flash freezing delicate items. When vaporized, it helps maintain non-flammable mixtures, even when flammable vapors are present. Because it [...]

By |2021-02-07T00:13:50+00:00February 4th, 2021|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments
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