Are Boilers PSM-Covered? Maybe, Maybe Not

“It’s very hard for all of us, when we’ve committed ourselves to a particular interpretation, to change our minds.”  — Donald Johanson We were recently asked if a steam boiler was a PSM-covered process. The answer seemed obvious. No, steam boilers, themselves, are not covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management [...]

By |2022-05-19T15:16:51+00:00May 19th, 2022|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Going to a Safe State: De-energize to Trip

“You may hate gravity, but gravity doesn’t care.”  — Clayton Christensen In May 1946, a scientist at Los Alamos was demonstrating the criticality of plutonium. The demonstration consisted of lowering the upper hemisphere of a spherical shell around a mass of plutonium. As he lowered it, however, it slipped and completed the spherical shell, causing [...]

Occupancy: Getting It Right

“I don’t worry about the bullet with my name on it. Can’t do anything about that. It’s the bullet addressed to ‘Occupant’ that I worry about.”  — Drew Schmidt I don’t get as much junk mail as I used to.  Now, I get junk emails and junk texts. When I do get junk mail, however, [...]

By |2022-03-10T18:38:15+00:00March 10th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Process Safety: Making Promises We Can’t Keep?

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  — Herodotus In 1912, one of the architects working on what is now known as the James A. Farley Building at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street in Manhattan convinced the [...]

Cooking with Love: Multitasking in the Control Room

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at one time.”  — Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield When our children were young, we ate a lot of [...]

It’s Magic: Documentation and Certification in PSM

“You don’t need to say any special incantation or sacrifice a stray cat or something first.”  — Kevin Hearne A common complaint about complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard, 29 CFR 1910.119, is about the tremendous effort that goes into preparing all the required documentation and keeping it up to date. It is ironic, [...]

By |2022-01-13T15:03:14+00:00January 13th, 2022|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 [...]

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 [...]

Process Safety and Ethics

“Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people.”  — Bill Moyers One definition of ethics is “the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior.” Which means that engineering ethics would be “the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior while performing engineering.” Most of [...]

By |2021-09-02T14:55:12+00:00September 2nd, 2021|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

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 [...]

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