Wait For It! Are Trip Delays Okay?

“But the important thing about learning to wait, I feel sure, is to know what you are waiting for.”  —Anna Neagle Many safety instrumented functions (SIFs) are deliberately designed to wait before tripping.  Like a sergeant commanding his troops to “Wait for it!” the SIF designer is anxious that the SIF not trip prematurely. Some [...]

By |2018-03-08T15:01:42+00:00March 8th, 2018|Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment, Safety Lifecycle|Comments Off on Wait For It! Are Trip Delays Okay?

The Ford Pinto

“The Ford Pinto—the barbecue that seats four.” –Johnny Carson This month, February 2018, will be the 40th anniversary of the California jury verdict in the Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. case. The jury awarded Richard Grimshaw $2,516,000 in compensatory damages and $125,000,000 in punitive damages, although the trial judge reduced the punitive damages to $3,500,000. [...]

By |2018-02-08T14:38:29+00:00February 8th, 2018|Current Events, Risk Assessment|Comments Off on The Ford Pinto

Mincing Words

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”  George Orwell, 1984 We’ve all done it.  We’re talking about something terrible and rather than calling it what it is, we choose words that are softer, less harsh.  Or we call it something that completely hides our meaning. Instead of talking [...]

By |2019-08-22T16:45:33+00:00November 16th, 2017|Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Mincing Words

Safety Lifecycle – Part 3: Developing Risk Tolerance Criteria

“If we accept there is no such thing as ‘zero risk’ then we should not spin the meaning of words with assertions such as ‘all accidents are preventable.’ – Dr. Rob Long In terms of process safety, one definition of risk is, “[The] combination of the frequency of occurrence of harm [the likelihood] and severity [...]

By |2017-11-14T21:26:31+00:00October 12th, 2017|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment, Safety Lifecycle, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Safety Lifecycle – Part 3: Developing Risk Tolerance Criteria

Check Valves and Risk Assessment: Should You Take Credit?

“Unless you go forward then you are going back.”  - Greg Lake Check valves (CVs) are routinely installed as safeguards against reverse flow.  Just as routinely, check valves are dismissed as safeguards during process hazard analysis.  If check valves are of no value, then there is no point in installing them.  On the other hand, [...]

By |2017-11-14T21:24:36+00:00September 28th, 2017|PHA, Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Safety Lifecycle|8 Comments

External Plant Fires: What’s the Likelihood?

“A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.”  Robert Herrick During a process hazard analysis (PHA) and a layer of protection analysis (LOPA), the scenario of an external plant fire frequently arises. From our experience facilitating PHAs and LOPAs, we’ve found that a common cause for this is a pooling of flammable liquid or oil getting [...]

By |2018-01-30T20:13:52+00:00September 7th, 2017|Chemicals, Gas, PHA, Process Safety, Risk Assessment|1 Comment

Red Shirts: Reducing Occupancy to Reduce Risk

“Red Shirt: In Star Trek, red-uniformed security officers and engineers who accompany the main characters on landing parties who often suffer quick deaths.[”  Wikipedia I didn’t see the NBC television series, Star Trek, until it went into syndication, when it became a staple of television viewing for everyone I knew while I was in college. [...]

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover – Or a Factory by its Facade

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”  Aldous Huxley We’ve all seen them; factories are scattered across the landscapes of America.  There’s probably one in or near the town where you live, where you work, where you raise your children.  I live near one and [...]

By |2017-07-24T16:37:37+00:00March 9th, 2017|Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment|Comments Off on Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover – Or a Factory by its Facade

Tolerable Risk, Analysis from a Novice

“Safety is a common denominator across all aspects of life, hence knowledge should always be shared.  It is not a matter for industry it is a matter for humanity.”  Doug Bourne, technical director at PM Lucas Six months ago, if you would have asked me to define the phrase “tolerable risk”, I would have stared [...]

By |2017-07-24T16:41:57+00:00January 12th, 2017|Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment|Comments Off on Tolerable Risk, Analysis from a Novice

Human Response: What’s It Worth?

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”  Napolean Bonaparte Can operator responses to unsafe conditions be considered part of safety instrumented functions?  The question frequently arises during a Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) as operators consider their existing safeguards and Independent Layers of Protection (IPLs).  [...]

By |2017-07-21T19:50:12+00:00January 4th, 2017|Risk Assessment|Comments Off on Human Response: What’s It Worth?
Go to Top