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.

When A Chemical Truck Rolls Over: Gawkers

“It’s what you do next that counts.”  — Lisa Mackay One of my favorite movies is The Great Waldo Pepper starring Robert Redford as a barnstorming pilot after World War I. One scene is seared into my memory. Waldo Pepper’s friend, Ezra Stiles, crashes during an air show. The crowd surges out to the wrecked [...]

By |2024-02-23T10:19:14-06:00February 23rd, 2024|Chemicals, Current Events|0 Comments

“OSHA Says”: Hard Hat Colors

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.” — George Carlin I was recently astonished to hear someone talking about OSHA-required hard hat color codes. “Yeah, and green is for any who works in forestry,” they said. I wanted to contradict them on the spot but stopped. [...]

By |2024-02-15T09:56:34-06:00February 15th, 2024|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Jargon: Keeping it Simple

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”  — often misattributed to Albert Einstein I don’t spend much time in court rooms. I’m not a lawyer. I tend toward law-abiding behavior, so I’ve not been a defendant. I refuse to be an expert witness. (Lawyers seem to want me to follow [...]

By |2024-02-01T12:56:46-06:00February 1st, 2024|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Jargon: Keeping it Simple

Too Extreme for Work? Cold Snaps and Heat Waves

“Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”  — Charles Dudley Warner A few weeks ago, we were treated to the sight of icicles hanging from NFL Coach Andy Reid’s moustache during the Chiefs-Dolphins playoff game in Kansas City. That gut punch of arctic air to the Midwest overwhelmed us. Here, our [...]

By |2024-01-25T11:36:35-06:00January 25th, 2024|Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Too Extreme for Work? Cold Snaps and Heat Waves

Deadly Jobs Revisited

“Automation is driving the decline of banal and repetitive tasks.”  — Amber Rudd Five years ago, I had the opportunity to give a TED talk called “Deadly Jobs”. I talked about the hazards that consistently contribute to work-related fatalities and the deadly occupations in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released [...]

By |2024-01-11T14:18:16-06:00January 11th, 2024|Current Events, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Deadly Jobs Revisited

The New BLS Fatality Report: Safety in a Post-Pandemic World

“The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.”  — Chinua Achebe Back in December 2021, the BLS report showed that for 2020, the Year of the Pandemic, the total number of work-related fatalities in the U.S. was 4,764. That was significantly less than for the year before. The [...]

By |2024-01-04T12:01:38-06:00January 4th, 2024|Current Events, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on The New BLS Fatality Report: Safety in a Post-Pandemic World

Heavy Metal: What Is It?

“Heavy metal? Like Rock of Ages?”  — Isis Hainsworth in Metal Lords It’s hard to pin down a definition of heavy metal, whether you are talking about the rock-n-roll genre, or elements from the periodic table. Serious fans (of either the music or the elements) can argue at length about what is meant by the [...]

By |2023-12-28T11:14:13-06:00December 28th, 2023|Chemicals, Process Safety|Comments Off on Heavy Metal: What Is It?

Choosing The Perfect Footwear for Work

“…I can feel it in my toes. Christmas is all around me. And so the feeling grows.”  — Bill Nighy in Love Actually Although I have on a couple of occasions, I don’t usually give protective footwear as a gift during the holiday season. Most people don’t consider protective footwear to be very festive. However, [...]

By |2023-12-30T13:53:53-06:00December 21st, 2023|Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Choosing The Perfect Footwear for Work

Whatever Your Reason: Incentives for Compliance

“Rather than a prosecutor saying, ‘you have nothing to fear if you have done nothing wrong,’ a more accurate portrayal would be ‘if I decide you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.’”  — Sidney Dekker There are thousands of work-related fatalities in the United States every year. Every few weeks, an intrepid [...]

By |2023-12-14T10:07:50-06:00December 14th, 2023|Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Whatever Your Reason: Incentives for Compliance

Safe Limits for Oxygen Exposure: Why 19.5% to 23.5%?

“Love is like oxygen. You get too much, you get too high; not enough and you’re gonna die.”  — Andy Scott, of Sweet OSHA standards define safe lower and upper limits to the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere to which workers are exposed. The limits are a minimum of 19.5% and a maximum of [...]

By |2023-12-07T09:20:33-06:00December 7th, 2023|Chemicals, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Safe Limits for Oxygen Exposure: Why 19.5% to 23.5%?
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