Things We Worry About: Plane Crashes

“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 an amazing achievement as a society! But what we end up focusing on are the catastrophic failures that are incredibly rare but happen every now and then.” – [...]

A New Enforcement Program: Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate

“This program is an enforcement tool to emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards,”  – Kimberly Stille, OSHA Region VII Administrator When the West Fertilizer ammonium nitrate warehouse north of Waco, Texas caught fire and then blew up on April 17, 2013, killing 15 and injuring 160, much was made of the lack of inspections [...]

Cracks in the Bridge: FIU Part 2

“…obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there, so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective…” —W. Denney Pate, Lead Engineer on FIU Bridge Project Obviously, Denney Pate got it wrong. In that voice mail message to the Florida [...]

By | 2018-09-20T18:08:31+00:00 September 20th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Arkema: A Ham Sandwich

“The district attorney could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to.” Judge Sol Wachtler Arkema is a ham sandwich. A year ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed, we got to watch trailers loaded with organic peroxide go up in flames and billowing clouds [...]

By | 2018-09-06T15:33:49+00:00 September 6th, 2018|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Before You Hear It on the News

“I just wanted to call you and let you know before you heard it on the news.”  —Mike Schmidt When we were newlyweds, my husband once called me at work to let me know that he was OK. He wanted to tell me about something that might show up on the local newscast later in [...]

By | 2018-08-30T15:50:43+00:00 August 30th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Human Factors: The Power of Words

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”  —Hermann Hesse I was just treated to a full-body pat-down by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). For frequent flyers, tales of woe regarding the TSA are like, um, opinions. Everybody has [...]

The Changing of the Guard: What Millennial Engineers Need from Their Predecessors

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”  Margaret Fuller I’ve always been fascinated with the Queen’s Guard.  My childhood cartoons were full of stoic soldiers in comically large hats and bright red coats.  As an adult, my appreciation is less about their wardrobe and more about their precision, professionalism and sense [...]

By | 2018-05-24T13:07:41+00:00 May 24th, 2018|Current Events, Training|0 Comments

10 Years

“An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it.”  -Dee Hock May 22 marks our tenth anniversary. We began with one purpose: to make the world a safer place. Started in 2008 at the request of its first customer, Bluefield Process Safety has grown [...]

By | 2018-05-17T13:23:11+00:00 May 17th, 2018|Current Events|0 Comments

In the Line of Duty: Workers’ Memorial Day

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  —John F. Kennedy In 2016, the most recent year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data, 5190 Americans died in the line of duty.  They were loggers and librarians, [...]

By | 2018-05-29T13:59:21+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Slow Down: The FIU Bridge Collapse

“Have you ever noticed when something bad happens, people automatically look for someone to blame?”  Amy Roberts I’m not a structural engineer, which means that I’m not qualified to comment on what went wrong when the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed on Thursday, March 15, 2018. I didn’t work on the design or [...]

By | 2018-03-20T15:42:52+00:00 March 19th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments