SIS and the Bathtub Curve

“When I was young, I would sit in the bath and ideas would come to me. But I’m not young anymore, so now I just sit in the bath.”  — Aki Kaurismaki “We’re installing a safety instrumented system in our existing process. Do we have to pull out all the existing instruments and replace them [...]

By |2021-07-01T14:57:47+00:00July 1st, 2021|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on SIS and the Bathtub Curve

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|Comments Off on Out of Harm’s Way: Using Drones to Fight Chemical Plant Fires

The Dose Makes the Poison

“All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.”  — Paracelsus Have you ever noticed that news accounts about incidents in the process industries never talk about “chemicals”? No, the writer always refers to “toxic chemicals”. As though you can’t say one without [...]

By |2021-03-25T16:18:42+00:00March 25th, 2021|Chemicals, Process Safety|Comments Off on The Dose Makes the Poison

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 [...]

By |2021-03-18T13:47:50+00:00March 18th, 2021|Combustible Dust, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Don’t Want No Static

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|Comments Off on Thinking Outside the Chatterbox

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|Comments Off on Process Safety Beyond the Fence Line

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 [...]

Simple Asphyxiation: The Tragedy in Gainesville

“It is these properties that make materials so useful that also pose hazards to health and property.”  — Peter Lodal Liquid nitrogen has some wonderful properties. It is really, really cold, so it is great for flash freezing delicate items. When vaporized, it helps maintain non-flammable mixtures, even when flammable vapors are present. Because it [...]

By |2021-02-07T00:13:50+00:00February 4th, 2021|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Simple Asphyxiation: The Tragedy in Gainesville

Tribal Knowledge: Documentation Is Key

“It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.”- Immanuel Kant In the hustle and bustle of our modern world, we take shortcuts to save time with minimal risks. Look at how we consume entertainment.  The NFL Red Zone is popular since it gives fans a continual highlight reel of their favorite [...]

By |2021-01-21T14:40:15+00:00January 21st, 2021|Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Training|Comments Off on Tribal Knowledge: Documentation Is Key

PSSRs: Commissioning on Steroids?

“Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.”  — Michael Dell I’ve always believed that a poor plant design, brilliantly operated and maintained, is far safer than a brilliant plant design, poorly operated and maintained. A pre-startup safety review (PSSR) is OSHA’s way of starting a facility down the path toward brilliant operation and maintenance. [...]

By |2021-01-14T16:56:41+00:00January 14th, 2021|Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on PSSRs: Commissioning on Steroids?
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