Recent Explosions in St. Louis: Lessons for Process Safety

“It always seems impossible until done.”  — Nelson Mandela There are dozens of motivational posters available that encourage us all to believe that we can do the impossible. They intend to inspire us to reach for the stars. But there is also a dark side to achieving the impossible. It’s when the impossible we are [...]

By |2022-07-15T14:14:53+00:00July 15th, 2022|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|Comments Off on Recent Explosions in St. Louis: Lessons for Process Safety

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 [...]

By |2021-07-22T15:20:05+00:00July 22nd, 2021|Chemicals, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Steam or Hot Oil: Which Is Safer?

Don’t Want No Static

“Electricity can be dangerous. My nephew tried to stick a penny into a plug. Whoever said a penny doesn’t go far didn’t see him shoot across that floor. I told him he was grounded.”  — Tim Allen When I was fresh out of grad school, I had a job in process development. One project involved [...]

By |2021-03-18T13:47:50+00:00March 18th, 2021|Combustible Dust, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Don’t Want No Static

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|Comments Off on Black Sky: A Bad Week for Polyethylene

Notre-Dame Burning: Don’t Wait for the Fire

“If your house were burning down and you could take away one thing, what would it be?”…”I’d take the fire.” — Jean Cocteau, interviewed by André Fraigneau The images of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burning broke my heart. I am grateful that people and organizations around the world have vowed to contribute to the [...]

By |2019-04-18T13:28:58+00:00April 18th, 2019|Current Events, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Notre-Dame Burning: Don’t Wait for the Fire

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

Silent Night: Candle Safety This Christmas

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  Washington Irving Christmas is also the season for crackling fires in the fire place and carols sung by candlelight.  Unfortunately, Christmas is the season for the rare but devastating church fire, when a church [...]

By |2017-12-14T15:09:48+00:00December 14th, 2017|Current Events|Comments Off on Silent Night: Candle Safety This Christmas
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