Fail Safe: A Dangerous Misconception

“They’ve thought of everything. Everything, that is, but their own failure.”  — K. Austin Collins I recently watched the 1964 movie, Fail Safe, directed by Sidney Lumet. It reminded me of a dangerous misconception I frequently encounter during process hazard reviews. If you are not familiar with the movie, it came out shortly after the [...]

By |2022-04-21T17:06:11+00:00April 21st, 2022|PHA, Process Safety|3 Comments

Process Design and Hazard Review: They Are Not the Same

“A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”  — Alec Issigonis Good process design results in a process that is more likely to work. Great process design results in a process that is even less likely to not work. Great process design is not the result of compromise and trade-offs, but of a singular [...]

By |2022-04-14T13:39:40+00:00April 14th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Probability of Failure: Power Transformer Reliability

“At the end of this day, one shall stand, one shall fall.”  — Optimus Prime, Transformers: The Movie I have never been to a process plant that could continue running without electrical power. So, it is not uncommon to see a plant with two separate electrical feeds, each with their own transformers. On most days, [...]

By |2022-04-07T15:42:32+00:00April 7th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Power Failures: Back-Up Generator Reliability

“With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, he pulls the spitting high tension wires down.”  — Buck Dharma, Blue Öyster Cult The preferred design of a safety function is one that deenergizes to trip. That is, a function that goes to the safe state when all sources of energy have been removed. The probability [...]

Occupancy: Getting It Right

“I don’t worry about the bullet with my name on it. Can’t do anything about that. It’s the bullet addressed to ‘Occupant’ that I worry about.”  — Drew Schmidt I don’t get as much junk mail as I used to.  Now, I get junk emails and junk texts. When I do get junk mail, however, [...]

By |2022-03-10T18:38:15+00:00March 10th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Process Risk: Learning from Experience

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”  — John Dewey There are too many celebrities and philosophers to count who have talked about the importance of their mistakes in shaping them. Many seem quite pleased, even proud, of the mistakes they’ve made and their ability to rise from them and go [...]

By |2022-02-24T14:56:55+00:00February 24th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

KISS: Keep It Simple = Safety

“Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.”  — Edsger Dijkstra For most of my life, I have struggled to keep down to a healthy weight. It didn’t help when someone told me, “Losing weight is simple. Eat less.” When I protested, they replied, “I said it was simple. I didn’t say it was easy.” The safest plant [...]

By |2022-02-03T16:03:10+00:00February 3rd, 2022|PHA, Process Safety|0 Comments

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 [...]

Risk Reduction: Any Credit for Mechanical Integrity?

“People give us credit only for what we ourselves believe.”  — Karl Gutzkow Several years ago, in a paper and presentation to the Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), PSM experts from OSHA observed that while it is common to see a mechanical integrity (MI) program listed as a safeguard in a PHA, this is [...]

Piling On: One More Safeguard?

“Some safety professionals, in the name of ‘zero-injuries’, will heap regulation after regulation on a job until the organization rebels and simply refuses to comply.”  — Phil La Duke There was a time when getting ready for winter meant making sure you had enough firewood to heat your cabin until spring. If you didn’t, your [...]

By |2021-12-02T15:08:52+00:00December 2nd, 2021|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments
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