Are Boilers PSM-Covered? Maybe, Maybe Not

“It’s very hard for all of us, when we’ve committed ourselves to a particular interpretation, to change our minds.”  — Donald Johanson We were recently asked if a steam boiler was a PSM-covered process. The answer seemed obvious. No, steam boilers, themselves, are not covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management [...]

By |2022-05-19T15:16:51+00:00May 19th, 2022|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Going to a Safe State: De-energize to Trip

“You may hate gravity, but gravity doesn’t care.”  — Clayton Christensen In May 1946, a scientist at Los Alamos was demonstrating the criticality of plutonium. The demonstration consisted of lowering the upper hemisphere of a spherical shell around a mass of plutonium. As he lowered it, however, it slipped and completed the spherical shell, causing [...]

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

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 [...]

Eternal Vigilance: Proof Tests are Essential to Safety

“But, after all, no safeguards are adequate, unless the will to give effect to them fully is present.”  — Jawaharial Nehru I had a truly embarrassing experience a couple days ago. I got a flat tire. The flat tire itself wasn’t embarrassing.  Annoying, yes, but not embarrassing. There are road hazards, and even the most [...]

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 Safety: Making Promises We Can’t Keep?

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  — Herodotus In 1912, one of the architects working on what is now known as the James A. Farley Building at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street in Manhattan convinced the [...]

Cooking with Love: Multitasking in the Control Room

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at one time.”  — Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield When our children were young, we ate a lot of [...]

It’s Magic: Documentation and Certification in PSM

“You don’t need to say any special incantation or sacrifice a stray cat or something first.”  — Kevin Hearne A common complaint about complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard, 29 CFR 1910.119, is about the tremendous effort that goes into preparing all the required documentation and keeping it up to date. It is ironic, [...]

By |2022-01-13T15:03:14+00:00January 13th, 2022|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|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 [...]

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