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.

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. [...]

Pool Fires

“Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”  — Terry Pratchett The most common fire in a process plant is a pool fire. A pool of flammable liquid, something that exists normally or, more likely, something [...]

By |2021-01-08T17:48:33+00:00January 8th, 2021|Chemicals, Process Safety|0 Comments

Squeezing the Balloon

“Squeezing a balloon in one place makes it expand in another.”  — Bernd Debusmann Finally. 2020, the worst year in living memory for most of us, is over. 2021 promises to be much, much better. Let’s make it a year when workplace safety gets better as well. To do that, though, we can’t just keep [...]

By |2020-12-31T19:01:28+00:00December 31st, 2020|Gas, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

BLS Fatality Statistics for 2019: Like a Shark

“A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies.  And I think what we got on our hands is dead shark.”  — Woody Allen, in Annie Hall The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases their workplace fatality statistics in December for the previous year. So, here [...]

By |2020-12-24T19:52:22+00:00December 24th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

“Expanded” PSM Coverage: What Has Changed?

“I don’t believe in life after death. But I do believe in some grinding destiny that watches over us on earth. If I didn’t, the safety valve would fail and the boiler would explode.”  ‑ Hedy Lamarr, inventor and actor We’ve been blowing up boilers since the dawn of the industrial revolution. By now, you’d think [...]

Accident Prone?

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”  — Walter Mosley Have you ever known someone who seemed to have more than their share of incidents? Ever worked with such a person? Supervised such a person? The idea of an “accident-prone” worker poses some special challenges, especially in a workplace where [...]

By |2020-12-10T18:24:06+00:00December 10th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Dear Austin: Is It Going to Get Better?

“The future depends on what you do today.”  — Mahatma Gandhi “How intensive is the view on safety in the engineering, manufacturing, and industrial world?” As this semester closes, one of my students asked me what I thought personally about safety. He graduates in a couple of weeks, and went on to ask, “What is [...]

By |2020-12-03T16:09:57+00:00December 3rd, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Covid Fatigue? Give it a Rest

“As the pandemic drags on, following COVID-19 prevention guidelines can feel like more and more of a challenge.”  — Jay Maddock, Professor of Public Health Tired of the pandemic? Tired of social distancing, of wearing a mask, of avoiding crowds? Who’s not? Get over it. The Covid-19 pandemic has come roaring back in the United [...]

By |2020-11-20T15:59:14+00:00November 20th, 2020|Current Events, Process Safety|1 Comment

Why People Are Unsafe: What Can You Do About It?

“Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.”  — Nelson Mandela Why are people unsafe? Why do they engage in unsafe behaviors, especially in an industry as hazardous as the chemical industry? Most of us are confident we know why. When asked, most people – over 80% – attribute the [...]

By |2020-11-12T14:45:40+00:00November 12th, 2020|Workplace Safety|1 Comment

How Likely? Your Guess is As Good As…

“For what it's worth, a good streak doesn't jinx you, and a bad one, unfortunately, does not mean better luck is in store.”  — Leonard Mlodinow When someone tells you that they took a calculated risk, they almost certainly are not speaking the truth, to you or to themselves. That’s because there were almost certainly [...]

By |2020-11-05T14:30:31+00:00November 5th, 2020|Process Safety, Risk Assessment|1 Comment