Process Safety: Addressing Risk or Dread?

“The risks that scare people and the risks that kill people are very different.”  — Peter Sandman I often wonder if work in process safety is a misallocation of resources. The leading cause of work-related fatalities is transportation, at about 40%. The next three (of seven causes identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), all [...]

Piling On: One More Safeguard?

“Some safety professionals, in the name of ‘zero-injuries’, will heap regulation after regulation on a job until the organization rebels and simply refuses to comply.”  — Phil La Duke There was a time when getting ready for winter meant making sure you had enough firewood to heat your cabin until spring. If you didn’t, your [...]

By |2021-12-02T15:08:52+00:00December 2nd, 2021|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

E-Stops: The “Get Fired Button”

“Panic is a natural response to danger, but it’s one that severely compounds the risk.”  — David Ignatius At 2:30 am, on Saturday, October 2, 2021, a split in the San Pedro Bay Pipeline began discharging oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. Low pressure alarms in the control room indicated that there [...]

Speed Of Thought

The degree of slowness is directionally proportional to the intensity of memory. The degree of speed is directionally proportional to the intensity of forgetting.” ― Milan Kundera, Slowness Every industry uses speed as a measurement to quantify productivity.  That productivity, whether gallons or railcar loads, is a tangible result that translates into revenue for a company.  Speed [...]

By |2021-10-07T14:55:38+00:00October 7th, 2021|PHA, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Batch Processes: Consider a Procedural HazOp

“We know we need civilization and laws and procedures, but isn’t it frustrating? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do what we needed to do?”  — Lee Child When someone thinks about a Process Hazard Analysis, a PHA, they usually think about a Hazard and Operability Review, a HazOp. And when they think [...]

How Much Credit for Alarms?

“Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.”  — Ursula K. Le Guin Late one evening a few months after we moved into our offices on Cherokee Street, the alarm went off. My home is nearby, and I got there within a couple of minutes to discover that one of the doors had been [...]

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|0 Comments

Operator Errors: Are They Really Design Errors?

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”  — Alexander Pope I was in a PHA once where the lone operator on the PHA team finally grew weary of the discussion of operator error.  “Why is it that when you engineers make a mistake, you call it design error, but when I make a mistake, you [...]

PHAs and LOPAs: What Would You Recommend?

“I don’t have a particular recommendation other than that we base decisions on as much hard data as possible.”  — Dorothy E. Denning The best waiters are the ones who are willing to make recommendations when you ask.  Anything but, “Well, everything is good.” Because, admit it, everything is not. And then, when you try [...]

By |2020-09-17T13:49:36+00:00September 17th, 2020|PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|0 Comments

Previous Incidents: Learning from Mistakes

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”  — Henry Ford I know a young woman whose relationships are in a constant state of turmoil. She keeps picking the wrong guys and each relationship ends in heartbreak. “Why do I keep making the same mistake over and over?” Why indeed? I [...]

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