How Much Credit for Alarms?

“Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.”  — Ursula K. Le Guin Late one evening a few months after we moved into our offices on Cherokee Street, the alarm went off. My home is nearby, and I got there within a couple of minutes to discover that one of the doors had been [...]

Out of Harm’s Way: Using Drones to Fight Chemical Plant Fires

“Running toward danger is foolhardy. But so is closing your eyes to it. Many perils become less dangerous once you understand their potential hazards.”  — Brandon Mull On Thursday, April 29, at about 2:30 pm, neighbors reported several explosions at the Manor Chemical Company in Affton, Missouri, a suburb on the southwest side of St. [...]

By |2021-05-06T14:59:54+00:00May 6th, 2021|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

DHAs: An OSHA Requirement?

“Speed limit 55. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.”  — Advertising Council and U.S. Department of Transportation (1977) Ever since the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published the 2019 Edition of NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, which states in §7.1.1.2 that a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) must be [...]

The Next Thing You Know: PSM-Covered Warehousing

“On the first day of school, you got to be real careful where you sit. You walk into the classroom and just plunk your stuff down on any old desk, and the next thing you know the teacher is saying, ‘I hope you all like where you’re sitting, because these are your permanent seats.’”  — [...]

Toeing the Line on Equipment Spacing

“Perfection of planned layout is only achieved by institutions on the point of collapse.” -C. Northcote Parkinson   Must be an Easy Way Out Every time you enter a concert venue or a movie theater, there is instruction on finding the exits so you know where to go in case of emergency.  The same can [...]

By |2021-04-01T16:05:43+00:00April 1st, 2021|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Don’t Want No Static

“Electricity can be dangerous. My nephew tried to stick a penny into a plug. Whoever said a penny doesn’t go far didn’t see him shoot across that floor. I told him he was grounded.”  — Tim Allen When I was fresh out of grad school, I had a job in process development. One project involved [...]

Combustible Dust Tests: Now What?

“We have first raised a dust and then complain we cannot see.”  — George Berkeley You don’t need to be convinced that combustible dusts are hazardous. You’ve seen the photographs of demolished grain elevators, of the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia looking like the Dresden firebombing in World War II. You’ve heard about [...]

Thinking Outside the Chatterbox

“Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession.”-Kingman Brewster Jargon.  A word that most of us have heard before.  Many enjoy using certain phrases that amount to it, but others not so much.  Every industry seems to have some jargon to explain ideas in a way to communicate with others efficiently.  When you are new [...]

By |2021-02-25T15:21:29+00:00February 25th, 2021|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Process Safety Beyond the Fence Line

“I’m an actor… I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don’t ask a truck driver about his job.”  — James Gandolfini I’ve been struck recently by how much we don’t talk about process safety once the hazardous chemicals we make have been loaded and shipped. Process Hazard [...]

By |2021-02-18T17:00:43+00:00February 18th, 2021|Chemicals, PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Operator Errors: Are They Really Design Errors?

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”  — Alexander Pope I was in a PHA once where the lone operator on the PHA team finally grew weary of the discussion of operator error.  “Why is it that when you engineers make a mistake, you call it design error, but when I make a mistake, you [...]

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