I Can’t Breathe: Asphyxia in the Process Industries

“Suffocation is a cruel way to go.”  — Arlaina Tibensky I usually think of process safety hazards as being related to fire, explosions, or toxic releases. There is another process hazard, however, doesn’t necessarily depend on any of these. It’s asphyxiation—death due to an inability to get enough oxygen to the body. Asphyxiation is not [...]

By |2022-08-18T20:01:29+00:00August 18th, 2022|Chemicals, Gas, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on I Can’t Breathe: Asphyxia in the Process Industries

Accidental Release Reporting: Data from the CSB

“There are two kinds of learning: experience, which is gained from your own mistakes, and wisdom, which is learned from the mistakes of others.”  — John C. Maxwell The Chemical Safety Board is not an enforcement agency. So, it came as a shock to many when the CSB issued the Accidental Release Report Rule (40 [...]

By |2022-08-04T15:24:58+00:00August 4th, 2022|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Accidental Release Reporting: Data from the CSB

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?

PVEs, BLEVEs, VCEs, and Fireballs: How Do They Differ?

“Maybe tone it down with the explosions.”  — Michael Bay Most of what we know about explosions is wrong. Most of what we “know” about explosions is what we’ve learned from the movies, which is the only thing called an explosion that we ever see. But what we see in the movies are not explosions, [...]

By |2022-05-12T15:45:09+00:00May 12th, 2022|Chemicals, Process Safety|Comments Off on PVEs, BLEVEs, VCEs, and Fireballs: How Do They Differ?

Process Design and Hazard Review: They Are Not the Same

“A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”  — Alec Issigonis Good process design results in a process that is more likely to work. Great process design results in a process that is even less likely to not work. Great process design is not the result of compromise and trade-offs, but of a singular [...]

By |2022-04-14T13:39:40+00:00April 14th, 2022|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Process Design and Hazard Review: They Are Not the Same

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

Safety in a Time of War

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower A safety professional I know recently looked at the photo above and commented, “Does that look safe?” Any [...]

By |2022-03-24T18:12:41+00:00March 24th, 2022|Current Events, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Safety in a Time of War

Eternal Vigilance: Proof Tests are Essential to Safety

“But, after all, no safeguards are adequate, unless the will to give effect to them fully is present.”  — Jawaharial Nehru I had a truly embarrassing experience a couple days ago. I got a flat tire. The flat tire itself wasn’t embarrassing.  Annoying, yes, but not embarrassing. There are road hazards, and even the most [...]

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