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

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 [...]

Work-Related Fatalities in the Year of Covid

“Maybe this virus has a silver lining.”  — Katherine Plumhoff The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its workplace safety statistics for the previous year each December. The injury, illness, and fatality statistics for 2020 – The Year of Covid – just came out. The total number of work-related fatalities in 2020 fell to 4,764, over [...]

By |2021-12-30T17:52:35+00:00December 30th, 2021|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Risk Reduction: Any Credit for Mechanical Integrity?

“People give us credit only for what we ourselves believe.”  — Karl Gutzkow Several years ago, in a paper and presentation to the Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), PSM experts from OSHA observed that while it is common to see a mechanical integrity (MI) program listed as a safeguard in a PHA, this is [...]

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 [...]

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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