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.’”  — [...]

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 [...]

The Dose Makes the Poison

“All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.”  — Paracelsus Have you ever noticed that news accounts about incidents in the process industries never talk about “chemicals”? No, the writer always refers to “toxic chemicals”. As though you can’t say one without [...]

By |2021-03-25T16:18:42+00:00March 25th, 2021|Chemicals, Process Safety|0 Comments
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