About Mike Schmidt

With a career in the CPI that began in 1977 with Union Carbide, Mike was profoundly impacted by the 1984 tragedy in Bhopal and has been working on process safety ever since.

What If There Was No PSM Standard?

“What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”  — Mark Twain, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn We love to hate regulations. The harder it is to comply with them, the more we hate them. [...]

By |2020-03-26T14:35:52+00:00March 26th, 2020|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

What We Worry About: It’s Not the Virus

“The term ‘triage’ normally means deciding who gets attention first.”  — Bill Dedman Most people have no reason to worry about getting fatally ill from COVID-19. Despite early estimates of fatality rates being about 2%, Sharon Begley reports in STAT News that a new paper puts the estimate closer to 1.4% overall: 0.5% for those [...]

By |2020-03-20T15:14:18+00:00March 19th, 2020|Current Events|1 Comment

Process Safety: How Far We’ve Come

“Life is a journey and not a destination.”  — Lynn H. Hough When Richard Nixon signed OSHA into law in 1970, the United States was looking at 14,000 work-related fatalities per year. With a workforce of about 70 million full-time equivalents, the work-related fatality rate was about 20 fatalities per 200,000,000 hours worked. In 2018, [...]

Emergencies: Who Are Essential Personnel?

“Is there anyone here on staff who you think is non-essential? If you had to give up one name, who would it be?”  — Conan O’Brien During emergencies, managers often feel compelled to order employees to stay home because of the emergency situation, but then go on to exempt "essential employees designated for mandatory operations." Really. [...]

By |2020-03-05T13:50:21+00:00March 5th, 2020|Current Events, Procedures|0 Comments

Here We Go Again: Defunding the CSB

“Here we go again. Fighting for resources. What the hell am I doing here?”  — Brad Pitt as Roy McBride in Ad Astra I just received an email from a client. They were alarmed that the proposed Federal budget included, again, defunding the Chemical Safety Board, and wanted to know what they could do to [...]

By |2020-02-13T16:59:10+00:00February 13th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Villains, Victims, and Heroes in Process Safety

“You’re a hero one day, you’re a villain another day.”  — Vincent Tan Every good story is a story of conflict. It has a villain. It has a victim. And in the best stories, it has a hero. The story of a process incident or scenario is no different. It has villains—causes. It has victims—receptors, [...]

What We Know: Another Explosion in Houston

“All I know is what I read in the papers.”  — Will Rogers When there is a catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals, I want to know about it. I want to know what happened, why it happened, and what I can learn to keep it from happening again. I go to news accounts. All [...]

By |2020-02-03T20:35:41+00:00January 30th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

3 Criteria for Picking LOPA Scenarios

“The easiest way to solve a problem is to pick an easy one.”  — Franklin P. Jones We love having choices. We hate making choices. What if we pick wrong? There is no shortage of people ready to tell us. It is always helpful to have criteria for choosing, or to be honest, to justify [...]

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: HazOp Nodes

“Come on, baby, let’s start anew, ‘cause breaking up is hard to do.”  — Neil Sedaka Before a HazOp team ever assembles, the facilitator has some important tasks to complete: get agreement with management on the scope of the review, identify the boundaries of the study, and break the process up into nodes.  And breaking [...]

By |2020-01-09T16:34:36+00:00January 9th, 2020|PHA, Procedures, Process Safety Management|1 Comment

Things We Worry About: Celebratory Gunfire

“[It’s the] wild west in Dutchtown to ring in the new year. :(”  — Jennie Foster on Nextdoor In my neighborhood, you don’t need a clock or a countdown on television to know the approach of the new year. You just need to listen to the intensity of the gunfire. The random shots start around [...]

By |2020-01-02T14:39:49+00:00January 2nd, 2020|Current Events|0 Comments