“Expanded” PSM Coverage: What Has Changed?

“I don’t believe in life after death. But I do believe in some grinding destiny that watches over us on earth. If I didn’t, the safety valve would fail and the boiler would explode.”  ‑ Hedy Lamarr, inventor and actor We’ve been blowing up boilers since the dawn of the industrial revolution. By now, you’d think [...]

By |2020-12-19T17:24:13+00:00December 17th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on “Expanded” PSM Coverage: What Has Changed?

Insanity: Another Ammonium Nitrate Explosion

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — First said by an anonymous member of Al-Anon in Knoxville, Tennessee I have a dream. In my dream, following a terrible chemical disaster that mimics other terrible chemical disasters, officials don’t wring their hands and talk about how their thoughts [...]

By |2020-08-13T19:40:57+00:00August 13th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events|Comments Off on Insanity: Another Ammonium Nitrate Explosion

What We Know: Another Explosion in Houston

“All I know is what I read in the papers.”  — Will Rogers When there is a catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals, I want to know about it. I want to know what happened, why it happened, and what I can learn to keep it from happening again. I go to news accounts. All [...]

By |2020-02-03T20:35:41+00:00January 30th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on What We Know: Another Explosion in Houston

Dia de los Muertos: Remembering the Dead

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  — George Santayana Our offices on Cherokee Street exist in the midst of a vibrant Hispanic community. So here in our neighborhood, Dia de los Muertos is in getting in full swing and will be observed through November 2. Dia de los Muertos, the [...]

By |2019-11-09T22:22:19+00:00October 31st, 2019|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Dia de los Muertos: Remembering the Dead

H21: Is Hydrogen a Safe Fuel?

“The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” - Harlan Ellison I first learned about H21, the project to convert the fuel gas distribution system in the North of England from natural gas to hydrogen, at a safety conference where I gave a talk on containing hydrogen deflagrations within pressure vessels. [...]

By |2019-08-08T14:23:25+00:00August 8th, 2019|Chemicals, Gas|Comments Off on H21: Is Hydrogen a Safe Fuel?

Do You Need a Hero? Emergency Action Plans

“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.”  — F. Scott Fitzgerald Being a firefighter is about as safe as any typical job in the United States. Fighting house fires is safer.  Fighting industrial fires, on the other hand, is about as dangerous as the most dangerous jobs that are legal. The Dangers [...]

By |2019-02-14T14:32:40+00:00February 14th, 2019|Chemicals, PHA, Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Do You Need a Hero? Emergency Action Plans

Lab Safety: Being Interested Isn’t Enough

“Once trained, the hazard often becomes a routine part of their experimentation and researchers perceive themselves to be experts in handling the hazard. Perceived familiarity can shift the awareness level from cautiousness to complacency.”  — University of California Center for Laboratory Safety It didn’t get much press.  Science reported on it, as did Chemical & [...]

By |2019-01-03T18:58:49+00:00January 3rd, 2019|Chemicals, Procedures, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Lab Safety: Being Interested Isn’t Enough

Arkema: A Ham Sandwich

“The district attorney could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to.” Judge Sol Wachtler Arkema is a ham sandwich. A year ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed, we got to watch trailers loaded with organic peroxide go up in flames and billowing clouds [...]

By |2018-09-06T15:33:49+00:00September 6th, 2018|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|Comments Off on Arkema: A Ham Sandwich

That’s Hazardous? Process Safety in Unexpected Places

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” –Heraclitus I work for a process safety consulting company and we often participate in community events that bring members of the general public through our door.  The first question we always encounter [...]

By |2018-08-23T14:47:09+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Chemicals, Combustible Dust, Process Safety|Comments Off on That’s Hazardous? Process Safety in Unexpected Places

Breaking Glass: Facility Siting

“I love the sound of breaking glass.”  Nick Lowe When I was a kid, the song, “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass,” was on the radio. I didn’t get it. I had memories of the sound of breaking glass, none of them good: The sound of an errant baseball going through the neighbor’s picture [...]

By |2018-08-02T13:39:56+00:00August 2nd, 2018|Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Breaking Glass: Facility Siting
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