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|0 Comments

Slightly Flammable? Low GWP Refrigerants and PSM

“You can’t get a little bit pregnant, son.”  — Hal Holbrook as Lou Mannheim in Wall Street, (1987) A whole new group of processes are about to become PSM-covered. Maybe. Some HVAC contractors have begun warning their customers that the new low-GWP refrigerants that they must switch to are “slightly flammable”, so may come under [...]

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

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 [...]

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

Politicizing Workplace Safety

“Politicized public health policy strays too far from sober assessment of scientific facts and runs the risk of constituting naked political advocacy.”  — Daniel Goldberg In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and what many would argue has been an abysmal response to that catastrophe, there has been much said about the politicization of public [...]

By |2021-01-28T22:50:45+00:00January 28th, 2021|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

“Expanded” PSM Coverage: What Has Changed?

“I don’t believe in life after death. But I do believe in some grinding destiny that watches over us on earth. If I didn’t, the safety valve would fail and the boiler would explode.”  ‑ Hedy Lamarr, inventor and actor We’ve been blowing up boilers since the dawn of the industrial revolution. By now, you’d think [...]

Dear Austin: Is It Going to Get Better?

“The future depends on what you do today.”  — Mahatma Gandhi “How intensive is the view on safety in the engineering, manufacturing, and industrial world?” As this semester closes, one of my students asked me what I thought personally about safety. He graduates in a couple of weeks, and went on to ask, “What is [...]

By |2020-12-03T16:09:57+00:00December 3rd, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Covid Fatigue? Give it a Rest

“As the pandemic drags on, following COVID-19 prevention guidelines can feel like more and more of a challenge.”  — Jay Maddock, Professor of Public Health Tired of the pandemic? Tired of social distancing, of wearing a mask, of avoiding crowds? Who’s not? Get over it. The Covid-19 pandemic has come roaring back in the United [...]

By |2020-11-20T15:59:14+00:00November 20th, 2020|Current Events, Process Safety|1 Comment

Frozen Pipes? Cold is Not the Cause

“It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end.”  — Douglas Adams It is October and cold weather is bearing down on us.  Some places have already experienced freezing temperatures, and for most of the rest of the northern hemisphere, it is coming soon. Which means that it is time [...]

By |2020-10-01T18:20:23+00:00October 1st, 2020|Current Events, PHA, Procedures, Process Safety|1 Comment
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