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 [...]

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

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?

PVEs, BLEVEs, VCEs, and Fireballs: How Do They Differ?

“Maybe tone it down with the explosions.”  — Michael Bay Most of what we know about explosions is wrong. Most of what we “know” about explosions is what we’ve learned from the movies, which is the only thing called an explosion that we ever see. But what we see in the movies are not explosions, [...]

By |2022-05-12T15:45:09+00:00May 12th, 2022|Chemicals, Process Safety|Comments Off on PVEs, BLEVEs, VCEs, and Fireballs: How Do They Differ?

Process Safety: Addressing Risk or Dread?

“The risks that scare people and the risks that kill people are very different.”  — Peter Sandman I often wonder if work in process safety is a misallocation of resources. The leading cause of work-related fatalities is transportation, at about 40%. The next three (of seven causes identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), all [...]

By |2022-01-06T19:10:09+00:00January 6th, 2022|Chemicals, PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment|Comments Off on Process Safety: Addressing Risk or Dread?

Batch Processes: Consider a Procedural HazOp

“We know we need civilization and laws and procedures, but isn’t it frustrating? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do what we needed to do?”  — Lee Child When someone thinks about a Process Hazard Analysis, a PHA, they usually think about a Hazard and Operability Review, a HazOp. And when they think [...]

By |2021-09-30T17:01:53+00:00September 30th, 2021|Chemicals, PHA, Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Batch Processes: Consider a Procedural HazOp

Death in La Porte: Glacial Acetic Acid is Not Vinegar

“I attach a Material Safety Data Sheet for the safe handling of table salt as required by a governmental agency. One could wax sarcastically about this travesty suggesting that next we will be faced with recommendations for handling sugar or even water. Certainly, something is out of control!”  — Harley W. Rhodehamel, in constituent letter [...]

By |2021-07-30T00:17:31+00:00July 29th, 2021|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|Comments Off on Death in La Porte: Glacial Acetic Acid is Not Vinegar

Steam or Hot Oil: Which Is Safer?

“I have always fancied that the end of the world will be when some enormous boiler, heated to three thousand millions of atmospheric pressure, shall explode and blow up the globe… They [the Americans] are great boiler makers.”  — Jules Verne I was recently asked about using hot oil instead of steam to heat process [...]

By |2021-07-22T15:20:05+00:00July 22nd, 2021|Chemicals, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Steam or Hot Oil: Which Is Safer?

Storage Tanks: Labeling Requirements

“Don’t rely too much on labels, for too often they are fables.”  — Charles Spurgeon Trick question: “What does PSM require for storage tank labeling?” Trick answer: “Nothing.” Helpful answer: “OSHA doesn’t require storage tank labeling under the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, 29 CFR 1910.119. It does, however, have requirements for storage tank labeling [...]

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|Comments Off on Out of Harm’s Way: Using Drones to Fight Chemical Plant Fires
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