Cracking the Code: AI’s Breakthrough in Process Safety

“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.” —Ginni Rometty Artificial Intelligence is having a moment in the public sphere. OpenAI’s ChatGPT text predictor has led to many competitors and skews that other companies can use to [...]

Process Safety in Flight: Attack of the Drones

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”- Bill Gates As technology advances and improves, new tools are developed that can be used to change procedures and [...]

By |2023-05-04T17:51:22+00:00May 4th, 2023|Process Safety, Safety Lifecycle, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Process Safety in Flight: Attack of the Drones

A Second Wind

“Time is the fire in which we burn.”- Delmore Schwartz A resin and rosin manufacturer in Brunswick, Georgia reignited in the afternoon on April 15th after catching fire that morning. Sources cite changing winds as a possible reason for reignition, a natural occurrence out of human control. Tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes are consistently on the [...]

By |2023-04-20T16:34:14+00:00April 20th, 2023|Chemicals, Current Events, PHA, Process Safety, Recommendations, Risk Assessment|Comments Off on A Second Wind

Human Response: An Effective Safeguard?

“Shallow men believe in luck; wise and strong men in the cause and effect." – Ralph Waldo Emerson In process safety, one important aspect of assessing risk is determining what safeguards are in place to protect against a hazard. Often, we see teams credit human response as a safeguard, sometimes relying on the response as [...]

By |2023-04-14T18:42:59+00:00April 14th, 2023|Process Safety, Risk Assessment|Comments Off on Human Response: An Effective Safeguard?

Deadly Explosion…At a Chocolate Factory?

“The fact is the media never gets off the interstate unless there’s a major explosion.”  — Jim Harrison On Friday, March 24, 2023, shortly before 5 pm local time, an explosion leveled the R.M. Palmer Company chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, killing seven workers. How does a chocolate factory explode? What are the explosive hazards, [...]

By |2023-03-30T19:22:49+00:00March 30th, 2023|Combustible Dust, Gas, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Deadly Explosion…At a Chocolate Factory?

Second Look: Keeping P&IDs Up to Date

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.“  -Martin Luther King, Jr. Many events and activities in life require planning, like saving up for a vacation or setting aside time to catch up with friends and colleagues. Industrial processes are no different. Blueprints, technical manuals, and procedures lay [...]

By |2023-03-16T15:45:47+00:00March 16th, 2023|PHA, Process Safety|Comments Off on Second Look: Keeping P&IDs Up to Date

Fire: What’s In a Name

“The name is the thing, and the true name is the true thing. To speak the name is to control the thing.”  — Ursala K. Le Guin, The Rule of Names Process safety has three concerns: fires, explosions, and toxic releases. The most ancient of these concerns is fire. Because fire has been our servant [...]

By |2023-03-10T15:10:13+00:00March 10th, 2023|Gas, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Fire: What’s In a Name

Derailments: How a Process Safety Perspective Can Prevent Them

“Luck is not an acceptable substitute for early detection.”  — Valerie Harper Three weeks after the Norfolk Southern (NS) derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the well-meaning editorial board at the Washington Post published an editorial on “how to fix freight rail.” They consulted with a variety of transportation experts to come up with four recommendations: [...]

By |2023-03-02T18:12:24+00:00March 2nd, 2023|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|Comments Off on Derailments: How a Process Safety Perspective Can Prevent Them

Ventilation: What is Adequate?

“There is nothing that this age, from whatever standpoint we survey it, needs more, physically, intellectually, and morally, than thorough ventilation.”  — John Ruskin I worked on a project once that required me to spend a lot of time in the control building. It was a substantial building with a kitchen and breakroom, several offices, [...]

By |2023-02-23T16:51:53+00:00February 23rd, 2023|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Ventilation: What is Adequate?

Just Right: Hazardous (Classified) Locations

“My life experience confirms that the U.S. government frequently overclassifies data.”  — Michael Hayden When it comes hazardous (classified) locations—electrical classification—even seemingly sophisticated technical facilities often get it wrong. The issue isn’t with the class, or the group, but with the division. Getting the division wrong, though, can render a facility more hazardous than it should [...]

By |2023-01-26T16:45:23+00:00January 26th, 2023|Chemicals, Combustible Dust, Process Safety|Comments Off on Just Right: Hazardous (Classified) Locations
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