Blog 2017-09-07T16:27:27+00:00

Hear No Evil, See No Evil: False Alarms and Spurious Trips

February 21st, 2019|0 Comments

“With a chemical alarm, you’re going to build one that is oversensitive because you would rather the alarm go off and give you a false alarm than [...]

Do You Need a Hero? Emergency Action Plans

February 14th, 2019|0 Comments

“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.”  — F. Scott Fitzgerald Being a firefighter is about as safe as any typical job in the [...]

Why Different PHA Teams Get Different Results

February 7th, 2019|0 Comments

“Differences challenge assumptions.”  Anne Wilson Schaef There is a common misunderstanding about the nature of Process Hazard Analyses (PHAs):  that they are objective studies. By objective, we [...]

Your Next Blockbuster Adventure: The PHA

January 31st, 2019|0 Comments

“Archeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.” — Indiana Jones, from [...]

Risk Tolerance Criteria: How Low Do You Go?

January 24th, 2019|0 Comments

“Some risks are plainly acceptable and others are plainly unacceptable.”  Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens When Justice Stevens wrote that opinion for the majority in the [...]

By the Book: Procedure Violations in Incident Investigations

January 17th, 2019|0 Comments

“There is almost no human action or decision that cannot be made to look flawed and less sensible in the misleading light of hindsight.  It is essential [...]

Near Misses: Learning from Experience

January 10th, 2019|0 Comments

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”  — Vernon Law When hit with the first winter storm of the season, [...]

Lab Safety: Being Interested Isn’t Enough

January 3rd, 2019|0 Comments

“Once trained, the hazard often becomes a routine part of their experimentation and researchers perceive themselves to be experts in handling the hazard. Perceived familiarity can shift [...]

New Year, New Safety Goals: What’s the formula for meeting them?

December 27th, 2018|0 Comments

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey With 2018 coming to an end and 2019 just beginning, we’re [...]

Lock the Gates Behind You

December 20th, 2018|0 Comments

“If you want zero risk in the plant, send everyone home and lock the gate.”  — Industrial safety proverb I don’t remember when I first heard it, [...]

Master the Box

December 14th, 2018|1 Comment

“Constraints inspire creativity.”  — Christopher Isaac “Biz”Stone, co-founder of Twitter I once asked a young engineer if he knew where the phrase, “Think Outside the Box,” came [...]

Options: Reducing Risk

December 6th, 2018|1 Comment

“To have constructive conversations about … options, one needs to take a calm look at the numbers.”  — David J.C. MacKay In addition to the usual hazards [...]

Check Valves: Why We Do the Things We Do

November 19th, 2018|1 Comment

“To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”  —St. Augustine “Check valves are worthless.” Every engineer I know has heard that. Many believe it. Quite a [...]

Not Likely

November 15th, 2018|0 Comments

“None of this will be important if there’s a zombie apocalypse. But how likely is that?”  —Jason Vladescu I was once at a conference where I overheard [...]

Things We Worry About: Plane Crashes

November 8th, 2018|0 Comments

“You are now statistically more likely to be elected president of the United States in your lifetime than you are to die in a plane crash. What [...]

Four Key Points: Applying the Meer Decision to Flammable Storage

November 1st, 2018|0 Comments

“Unlike Humpty Dumpty, the Secretary may not give a word whatever meaning she chooses.”  —Judge Richard DeBenedetto When the Meer Corporation took the bold and relatively unheard-of [...]

Caps and Plugs: Why We Do The Things We Do

October 18th, 2018|0 Comments

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”  —Warren Buffett Caps and plugs serve no process function. It [...]

Things We Worry About: In-plant Derailments

October 11th, 2018|0 Comments

“To invent the train is to invent the rail accident of derailment.”  —Paul Virilio When most of us think of train derailments, we think of horrendous events, [...]