Process Safety and Ethics

“Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people.”  — Bill Moyers One definition of ethics is “the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior.” Which means that engineering ethics would be “the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior while performing engineering.” Most of [...]

By |2021-09-02T14:55:12+00:00September 2nd, 2021|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Process Safety and Mental Health

“Because most suicides do not happen at work, many employers do not consider depression or suicide an industry problem or occupational hazard.”  — Stu Kemppairnen When we were younger, my wife really enjoyed napping in the afternoon. I didn’t get it. There was so much to do, how could anyone take prime “getting things done” [...]

By |2021-08-12T17:12:24+00:00August 12th, 2021|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

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

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 [...]

SIS and the Bathtub Curve

“When I was young, I would sit in the bath and ideas would come to me. But I’m not young anymore, so now I just sit in the bath.”  — Aki Kaurismaki “We’re installing a safety instrumented system in our existing process. Do we have to pull out all the existing instruments and replace them [...]

By |2021-07-01T14:57:47+00:00July 1st, 2021|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

How Much Credit for Alarms?

“Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.”  — Ursula K. Le Guin Late one evening a few months after we moved into our offices on Cherokee Street, the alarm went off. My home is nearby, and I got there within a couple of minutes to discover that one of the doors had been [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.’”  — [...]

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