Time for Change: Revising the Elements of PSM

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”  — Charles Kettering I just got notice from OSHA that I am registered as a participant in their upcoming stakeholder meeting about the changes to the PSM Standard that they are considering. I asked to speak and will get about three [...]

Spreading OSHA’s Wings: Expanding the Scope of PSM

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new one.”  [...]

Consider: A Weasel Word?

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.” — Benjamin Franklin The first time you ever encountered a weasel word was probably when your mom said, “Maybe,” or [...]

By |2022-06-02T13:30:01+00:00June 2nd, 2022|Chemicals, PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|Comments Off on Consider: A Weasel Word?

Process Safety Beyond the Fence Line

“I’m an actor… I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don’t ask a truck driver about his job.”  — James Gandolfini I’ve been struck recently by how much we don’t talk about process safety once the hazardous chemicals we make have been loaded and shipped. Process Hazard [...]

By |2021-02-18T17:00:43+00:00February 18th, 2021|Chemicals, PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Process Safety Beyond the Fence Line

We’re Not Wizards

“But how they can be charged with negligence because they were not wizards, appellant’s brief does not make clear.”  — Osmond K. Fraenkel, successfully arguing before the New York Supreme Court, 1935 In a world where companies tout “Zero Incidents,” not as an aspirational definition of perfect safety, but as a measurable and achievable target, [...]

By |2019-10-17T18:14:52+00:00October 17th, 2019|PHA, Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment, Safety Lifecycle|Comments Off on We’re Not Wizards

My Process Isn’t Covered by the PSM Standard

“Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you.”  —Frank Crane You’ve done it! You found a way to operate your process without ever going over the 10,000 lb threshold quantity for flammable liquids or gases. You’ve found substitutes for the toxic [...]

By |2018-07-12T13:47:39+00:00July 12th, 2018|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on My Process Isn’t Covered by the PSM Standard

Who Gets In? Plant Access Control

“We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.” – Lyndon B. Johnson In LOPA, the role of people can be broken down into three categories: Victims, villains, and heroes.  Access control serves not only to reduce the number of victims but also restrict access for villains. [...]

By |2018-02-01T15:18:59+00:00February 1st, 2018|Chemicals, Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Who Gets In? Plant Access Control

Operating Procedures – We Need Them

Every part of an organization is dependent on documented procedures to mitigate risk and improve productivity and performance. – Deborah Kenny At Bluefield Process Safety, I have had a chance to work on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for multiple organizations. I have worked with some organizations that either lack SOPs for some or most tasks, [...]

By |2017-07-21T18:20:56+00:00May 2nd, 2017|Procedures, Process Safety Management, Safety Lifecycle|Comments Off on Operating Procedures – We Need Them


“There is no greater evil than men’s failure to consult and to consider.”  Sophocles In our office, we write a lot of recommendations.  As a rule, we begin recommendations with the words “consider” or “confirm.” This isn’t because we’re looking for weasel-words. It’s because not every recommendation is the best idea. Some recommendations aren’t even [...]

By |2017-07-24T17:21:52+00:00December 6th, 2016|PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|Comments Off on Consider
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