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

E-Stops: The “Get Fired Button”

“Panic is a natural response to danger, but it’s one that severely compounds the risk.”  — David Ignatius At 2:30 am, on Saturday, October 2, 2021, a split in the San Pedro Bay Pipeline began discharging oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. Low pressure alarms in the control room indicated that there [...]

Speed Of Thought

The degree of slowness is directionally proportional to the intensity of memory. The degree of speed is directionally proportional to the intensity of forgetting.” ― Milan Kundera, Slowness Every industry uses speed as a measurement to quantify productivity.  That productivity, whether gallons or railcar loads, is a tangible result that translates into revenue for a company.  Speed [...]

By |2021-10-07T14:55:38+00:00October 7th, 2021|PHA, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

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 [...]

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 [...]

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