For Engineering Students: Some Unsolicited Advice

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein My day job is process safety engineer, but I also teach two evening courses as an adjunct professor. In that role, I was asked by a student group to speak on “How to get good grades and how to [...]

By | 2019-08-15T13:57:59+00:00 August 15th, 2019|Current Events|0 Comments

One Small Step

“If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we…”  — Nearly Everyone Fifty years ago, humans first walked on the moon. It was and remains a remarkable and courageous feat of technology and determination. Having achieved it, though, most of society lost interest and moved on. Humans haven’t been back on the [...]

By | 2019-07-18T13:47:20+00:00 July 18th, 2019|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Putting Safety First on the 4th

“As far as fireworks, it's very dangerous. You shouldn't play with them.” – Jason Pierre-Paul An American Tradition In the United States, the 4th of July holds a special place among our many holidays. The mere mention of the date evokes images of American flags, backyard cookouts, blistering heat, and overwhelming patriotism. Above all, however, [...]

By | 2019-06-27T14:10:32+00:00 June 27th, 2019|Current Events, Training|0 Comments

Notre-Dame Burning: Don’t Wait for the Fire

“If your house were burning down and you could take away one thing, what would it be?”…”I’d take the fire.” — Jean Cocteau, interviewed by André Fraigneau The images of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burning broke my heart. I am grateful that people and organizations around the world have vowed to contribute to the [...]

By | 2019-04-18T13:28:58+00:00 April 18th, 2019|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

“No Harm, No Foul”: Madness

“As they depend, not upon the agent, but upon fortune, they cannot be the proper foundation for any sentiment” — Adam Smith We all believe that people should follow safety rules all the time. Not because there is a harmful outcome every time someone violates a safety rule or commits an unsafe act. Because usually [...]

Grounding the Max 8: Ignoring Near Misses

“The failure of a layer of protection to prevent an incident is not the initiating cause of the incident.”  The United States just joined much of the world in grounding the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9. The tipping point was not the crash of Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 into the Java Sea [...]

By | 2019-03-14T16:47:23+00:00 March 14th, 2019|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

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

“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 provided with an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments (and failures) of the past year while also looking ahead towards what we want to accomplish in the year [...]

By | 2018-12-27T15:32:00+00:00 December 27th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Lock the Gates Behind You

“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, but I know I’ve said it. Risk is inherent to the chemical enterprise. We can reduce it, but we cannot eliminate it entirely. Zero risk is not an [...]

By | 2018-12-20T13:45:58+00:00 December 20th, 2018|Current Events, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Master the Box

“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 from. “Taco Bell?” he replied tentatively. I asked a few of my other younger colleagues and to a person they had no idea where the phrase came from. As [...]

By | 2018-12-15T17:20:41+00:00 December 14th, 2018|Current Events, Training|1 Comment

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.” – [...]