About Maria Vega-Westhoff

Maria Vega-Westhoff has worked in Process Safety as a Safety Consultant at Bluefield Process Safety since graduating with her BS in Chemical Engineering at Missouri S&T in 2015.

Who Gets In? Plant Access Control

“We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.” – Lyndon B. Johnson In LOPA, the role of people can be broken down into three categories: Victims, villains, and heroes.  Access control serves not only to reduce the number of victims but also restrict access for villains. [...]

Workplace Fatalities 2016

Each December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the final statistics workplace fatalities for the previous year.  The 2016 statistics and chart package came out last month; we took a moment to look them over and there were few surprises: The overall fatality rate in 2016 was about the same as it was for the [...]

By | 2018-01-19T13:59:54+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Mechanical Integrity – Basics

“A man who lacks reliability is utterly useless” - Confucius Mechanical Integrity is an essential element of an efficient process and a safe, cost-effective facility. Furthermore, OSHA’s PSM Standard (29 CFR 1910.119[j]) requires it.  And yet, for decades Mechanical Integrity has been a leading cause of OSHA citations.  For all of the studies and journal [...]

By | 2017-09-14T13:55:14+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Process Safety Management|0 Comments

OSHA “What’s New” – Public Opportunity to Comment on Collection of Information

On July 31st, the Department of Labor (DOL) submitted seven OSHA sponsored information collection requests (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval titled: "Rigging Equipment for Material Handling," "Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard," "Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers [...]

By | 2017-08-11T15:44:21+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Current Events|0 Comments

Operating Procedures – We Need Them

Every part of an organization is dependent on documented procedures to mitigate risk and improve productivity and performance. – Deborah Kenny At Bluefield Process Safety, I have had a chance to work on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for multiple organizations. I have worked with some organizations that either lack SOPs for some or most tasks, [...]

Consider

“There is no greater evil than men’s failure to consult and to consider.”  Sophocles In our office, we write a lot of recommendations.  As a rule, we begin recommendations with the words “consider” or “confirm.” This isn’t because we’re looking for weasel-words. It’s because not every recommendation is the best idea. Some recommendations aren’t even [...]

By | 2017-07-24T17:21:52+00:00 December 6th, 2016|PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|0 Comments