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.

Mincing Words

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”  George Orwell, 1984 We’ve all done it.  We’re talking about something terrible and rather than calling it what it is, we choose words that are softer, less harsh.  Or we call it something that completely hides our meaning. Instead of talking [...]

By | 2017-11-16T14:26:29+00:00 November 16th, 2017|Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Hope You Won’t Have to Use It: Fire Extinguisher Inspections

“The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.”  Fyodor Dostoevsky OSHA does not require fire extinguishers. Not in most work places. The fire extinguishers that are in most work places are there because of insurance requirements. To use a fire extinguisher requires going [...]

By | 2017-09-21T13:40:34+00:00 September 21st, 2017|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Getting It Wrong

“Adversity does not build character, it reveals it” -James Lane Allen I have been very interested in what the press has had to say about process safety issues following Hurricane Harvey. I was also very gratified when the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) put out a warning that start-up was one the most dangerous operations [...]

By | 2017-09-07T14:15:38+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Red Shirts: Reducing Occupancy to Reduce Risk

“Red Shirt: In Star Trek, red-uniformed security officers and engineers who accompany the main characters on landing parties who often suffer quick deaths.[”  Wikipedia I didn’t see the NBC television series, Star Trek, until it went into syndication, when it became a staple of television viewing for everyone I knew while I was in college. [...]

The Gorilla in the Room: Motor Vehicle Fatalities

“Anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.”  George Carlin While work-related fatalities are not a significant portion of all motor vehicle deaths, motor vehicle deaths are a significant portion of work-related fatalities. In 2015, there were 38,300 motor vehicle deaths.  Of those, 1,806 were work-related—less [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:33:15+00:00 May 16th, 2017|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Defunding the CSB: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

“Defunding the CSB is just plain stupid.”  -Mark Rosenzweig, Editor-in-Chief, Chemical Processing It has been a month since the administration announced a list of 19 independent federal agencies that it wants to completely defund in the 2018 budget.  Tucked in among the regional economic development agencies and the agencies that support the arts and humanities [...]

By | 2017-07-21T20:38:49+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Enabling: When a helping hand is no help at all

“Stopping enabling isn’t easy. Nor is it for the faint of heart. Aside from likely pushback and possible retaliation, you may also fear the consequences of doing nothing.”  – Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT, expert on codependency I hate to see an operating company fined for safety violations.  First, it means that they were out of [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:35:22+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Process Safety Management, Recommendations|0 Comments

Will Trump Reverse the EPA’s Revised RMP Rules?

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.”  President Donald J. Trump President Trump just reversed the Obama administration’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Regardless of my concerns about hydrocarbon consumption, as a safety professional, I have to welcome the news, knowing as I do that pipelines are the safest way [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:40:38+00:00 January 26th, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Still Higher OSHA Fines

Just when you were getting used to the new levels of fines from OSHA, they’ve increased again.  The Federal Register just published new fines for the Department of Labor, including new fines for OSHA.  The fines for willful violations will increase 1.64%, from $124,709 to $126,749, while the maximum penalty for most citations will go [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:41:04+00:00 January 20th, 2017|Current Events|0 Comments

Workplace Safety in the Gig Economy: New BLS data on 2015 fatalities

“The more things change, the more they are the same.”  Alphonse Karr Recently released fatal injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that self-employed workers are almost five times as likely to die on the job as employees. It Seems Like Nothing Much Has Changed As promised, the BLS released its 2015 [...]

By | 2017-07-24T17:21:01+00:00 December 21st, 2016|Workplace Safety|0 Comments