Process Design and Hazard Review: They Are Not the Same

“A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”  — Alec Issigonis Good process design results in a process that is more likely to work. Great process design results in a process that is even less likely to not work. Great process design is not the result of compromise and trade-offs, but of a singular [...]

By |2022-04-14T13:39:40+00:00April 14th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Process Design and Hazard Review: They Are Not the Same

Probability of Failure: Power Transformer Reliability

“At the end of this day, one shall stand, one shall fall.”  — Optimus Prime, Transformers: The Movie I have never been to a process plant that could continue running without electrical power. So, it is not uncommon to see a plant with two separate electrical feeds, each with their own transformers. On most days, [...]

By |2022-04-07T15:42:32+00:00April 7th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Probability of Failure: Power Transformer Reliability

KISS: Keep It Simple = Safety

“Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.”  — Edsger Dijkstra For most of my life, I have struggled to keep down to a healthy weight. It didn’t help when someone told me, “Losing weight is simple. Eat less.” When I protested, they replied, “I said it was simple. I didn’t say it was easy.” The safest plant [...]

By |2022-02-03T16:03:10+00:00February 3rd, 2022|PHA, Process Safety|Comments Off on KISS: Keep It Simple = 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?

SIS and the Bathtub Curve

“When I was young, I would sit in the bath and ideas would come to me. But I’m not young anymore, so now I just sit in the bath.”  — Aki Kaurismaki “We’re installing a safety instrumented system in our existing process. Do we have to pull out all the existing instruments and replace them [...]

By |2021-07-01T14:57:47+00:00July 1st, 2021|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on SIS and the Bathtub Curve

Whose Fault? What to Do with Crazy

“Minimizing your exposure to pathology goes a long, long way.”  — Dr. Susan Biali Haas When a sensor faults, it doesn’t stop providing information. It’s just unreliable information. It may be correct, it may not, but it is not to be believed.  Like a clock that has stopped but is still correct twice a day, [...]

By |2020-05-14T13:25:05+00:00May 14th, 2020|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Whose Fault? What to Do with Crazy

SIL Certification: Necessary or Sufficient?

“Contrary to what many parents tell their children, talent and hard work are neither necessary nor sufficient for economic success.”  —Robert H. Frank We are all guilty of telling tales we know to be untrue in order to encourage virtuous behavior. Parents tell their children to be good so Santa Clause will come. OSHA tells [...]

By |2019-05-23T16:10:03+00:00May 23rd, 2019|Process Safety|1 Comment

Check Valves: Why We Do the Things We Do

“To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”  —St. Augustine “Check valves are worthless.” Every engineer I know has heard that. Many believe it. Quite a few have said it. Yet, check valves are still made and installed. How worthless could they be? Why Use Check Valves? Check valves are designed to allow flow [...]

By |2018-11-19T15:17:29+00:00November 19th, 2018|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|1 Comment

Caps and Plugs: Why We Do The Things We Do

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”  —Warren Buffett Caps and plugs serve no process function. It is a common practice to install a cap or plug on the end of a line that is open to the atmosphere, but the justification is for safety, [...]

By |2018-10-18T15:27:00+00:00October 18th, 2018|PHA, Process Safety|Comments Off on Caps and Plugs: Why We Do The Things We Do

Protection Under Pressure: Understanding HIPPS

“Everybody handles pressure differently.”  Gerry Cooney High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS) are a type of Safety Instrumented System (SIS) used as an alternative to or in conjunction with pressure relief systems.  HIPPS were added to the Standards as an alternative to pressure relief valves in August of 1996 after many safety professionals realized that [...]

By |2017-08-03T15:10:00+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Process Safety, Safety Lifecycle|1 Comment
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