Just Water? Process Hazards of H2O

“It is with our passions as it is with fire and water; they are good servants but bad masters.”  — Aesop A common trope of Hazard Communication training is for the instructor to share an SDS of “dihydrogen oxide” with the class and to review all the dangers of this “hazardous chemical”. Then, in a [...]

By |2022-08-11T18:09:25+00:00August 11th, 2022|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Not Just PPE—The Right PPE!

“The hardest choices in life aren’t between what’s right and what’s wrong but between what’s right and what’s best.”  — Jamie Ford Most of the chemical plants I’ve ever worked in or visited required specific kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE). Usually, hard hats, safety shoes, and safety glasses with side shields were the minimum [...]

By |2022-07-28T13:43:13+00:00July 28th, 2022|Training, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Not Just PPE—The Right PPE!

The Chemical Process Industries: Getting Safer?

“My first customer was a lunatic. My second had a death wish.”  — Karl Benz We want to get safer. We invest enormous resources in making the world a safer place. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t seem like we’re making much progress, especially when we’ve just experienced a catastrophic event. Instead, it seems like we just [...]

By |2022-05-26T15:55:08+00:00May 26th, 2022|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on The Chemical Process Industries: Getting Safer?

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|Comments Off on Are Boilers PSM-Covered? Maybe, Maybe Not

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 [...]

By |2022-05-05T16:21:24+00:00May 5th, 2022|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Going to a Safe State: De-energize to Trip

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

Power Failures: Back-Up Generator Reliability

“With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, he pulls the spitting high tension wires down.”  — Buck Dharma, Blue Öyster Cult The preferred design of a safety function is one that deenergizes to trip. That is, a function that goes to the safe state when all sources of energy have been removed. The probability [...]

By |2022-03-31T16:56:04+00:00March 31st, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Power Failures: Back-Up Generator Reliability

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 [...]

By |2022-03-03T15:38:40+00:00March 3rd, 2022|Current Events, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Process Safety: Making Promises We Can’t Keep?

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

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 [...]

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