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.

Your Plant on Nextdoor

“Where our memories fade, the Internet never forgets. At the drop of a hat, friends, family members, acquaintances, and even strangers can call up these records, and worse, they can use them against us.”  — May Crockett Nextdoor, the “hyperlocal social networking service for neighborhoods” has been abuzz in my neighborhood for the past few [...]

By |2020-09-24T14:45:12+00:00September 24th, 2020|Process Safety|0 Comments

PHAs and LOPAs: What Would You Recommend?

“I don’t have a particular recommendation other than that we base decisions on as much hard data as possible.”  — Dorothy E. Denning The best waiters are the ones who are willing to make recommendations when you ask.  Anything but, “Well, everything is good.” Because, admit it, everything is not. And then, when you try [...]

By |2020-09-17T13:49:36+00:00September 17th, 2020|PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|0 Comments

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Control Room Egress

“We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.”  — Cynthia Weil/Barry Mann How many exits do we need from our control room? And what direction do the doors need to swing? Seem like easy questions. But as any good consultant will tell you: “It depends.” The Standards for [...]

By |2020-09-10T17:33:44+00:00September 10th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Black Sky: A Bad Week for Polyethylene

“It’s everything you do and nothing that you did.”  — Steve Cash Poly-America is having a bad week. Last Wednesday, August 19, at around 1 am, a massive fire started at the Poly-America plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, outside of Dallas.  Local news reports on that Wednesday stated that the black plume from the fire [...]

By |2020-08-27T18:13:19+00:00August 27th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Fahrenheit 451: Autoignition Temperatures

“‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic that any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal.”  — Ray Bradbury Ray Bradbury was born a century ago, on [...]

By |2020-08-20T17:15:46+00:00August 20th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events|0 Comments

Insanity: Another Ammonium Nitrate Explosion

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — First said by an anonymous member of Al-Anon in Knoxville, Tennessee I have a dream. In my dream, following a terrible chemical disaster that mimics other terrible chemical disasters, officials don’t wring their hands and talk about how their thoughts [...]

By |2020-08-13T19:40:57+00:00August 13th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events|0 Comments

Previous Incidents: Learning from Mistakes

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”  — Henry Ford I know a young woman whose relationships are in a constant state of turmoil. She keeps picking the wrong guys and each relationship ends in heartbreak. “Why do I keep making the same mistake over and over?” Why indeed? I [...]

Choosing Safety: Is That How We Roll?

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”  — Maya Angelou Many St. Louis drivers view stop signs as suggestions; they don’t see a full stop is either required or expected. And this isn’t just young hooligans in muscle cars. It includes little old ladies in [...]

By |2020-07-23T14:39:39+00:00July 23rd, 2020|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Workplace Safety: As Good As It Gets?

“What if this is as good as it gets?”  — Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets, directed by James L. Brooks The year 2009 was first time I ever studied a graph of work-related fatality rates in the U.S. The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was available for [...]

By |2020-07-09T16:27:25+00:00July 9th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|1 Comment

In the Midst of a Pandemic: Fourth of July Safety

“Fourth of July is not cancelled this year…it will just look a little different.”  — Megan Willgoos I love fireworks displays. Especially those with big finales. As a safety professional, a homeowner, and a dog lover, though, I hate recreational fireworks. People suffer life-altering injuries, homes and other buildings are set afire, and man’s best [...]

By |2020-07-02T13:11:51+00:00July 2nd, 2020|Current Events|0 Comments