Squeezing the Balloon

“Squeezing a balloon in one place makes it expand in another.”  — Bernd Debusmann Finally. 2020, the worst year in living memory for most of us, is over. 2021 promises to be much, much better. Let’s make it a year when workplace safety gets better as well. To do that, though, we can’t just keep [...]

By |2020-12-31T19:01:28+00:00December 31st, 2020|Gas, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

BLS Fatality Statistics for 2019: Like a Shark

“A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies.  And I think what we got on our hands is dead shark.”  — Woody Allen, in Annie Hall The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases their workplace fatality statistics in December for the previous year. So, here [...]

By |2020-12-24T19:52:22+00:00December 24th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Accident Prone?

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”  — Walter Mosley Have you ever known someone who seemed to have more than their share of incidents? Ever worked with such a person? Supervised such a person? The idea of an “accident-prone” worker poses some special challenges, especially in a workplace where [...]

By |2020-12-10T18:24:06+00:00December 10th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Dear Austin: Is It Going to Get Better?

“The future depends on what you do today.”  — Mahatma Gandhi “How intensive is the view on safety in the engineering, manufacturing, and industrial world?” As this semester closes, one of my students asked me what I thought personally about safety. He graduates in a couple of weeks, and went on to ask, “What is [...]

By |2020-12-03T16:09:57+00:00December 3rd, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Why People Are Unsafe: What Can You Do About It?

“Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.”  — Nelson Mandela Why are people unsafe? Why do they engage in unsafe behaviors, especially in an industry as hazardous as the chemical industry? Most of us are confident we know why. When asked, most people – over 80% – attribute the [...]

By |2020-11-12T14:45:40+00:00November 12th, 2020|Workplace Safety|1 Comment

Training: How Refreshing

“It is so refreshing to have somebody approach education rationally.”  — Adam Cooper There probably isn’t anything as refreshing as a shower. Especially after hot, dirty work. Not even refreshments are as refreshing. Yet, the English language is so twisted that we call the repetition of training that we’ve already had “refresher training,” something that [...]

By |2020-10-29T14:39:45+00:00October 29th, 2020|Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Control Room Egress

“We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.”  — Cynthia Weil/Barry Mann How many exits do we need from our control room? And what direction do the doors need to swing? Seem like easy questions. But as any good consultant will tell you: “It depends.” The Standards for [...]

By |2020-09-10T17:33:44+00:00September 10th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Black Sky: A Bad Week for Polyethylene

“It’s everything you do and nothing that you did.”  — Steve Cash Poly-America is having a bad week. Last Wednesday, August 19, at around 1 am, a massive fire started at the Poly-America plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, outside of Dallas.  Local news reports on that Wednesday stated that the black plume from the fire [...]

By |2020-08-27T18:13:19+00:00August 27th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Workplace Safety: As Good As It Gets?

“What if this is as good as it gets?”  — Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets, directed by James L. Brooks The year 2009 was first time I ever studied a graph of work-related fatality rates in the U.S. The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was available for [...]

By |2020-07-09T16:27:25+00:00July 9th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|2 Comments

Breaking the Law: Conservation of Recklessness

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”  — Geena Davis as Veronica Quaife in The Fly, directed by David Cronenburg Try as we might, we safety professionals cannot make people want to be safe. The challenge then, is to make them safer than they want to be. The Law of Conservation of Recklessness There is not officially [...]

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