What We Worry About: It’s Not the Virus

“The term ‘triage’ normally means deciding who gets attention first.”  — Bill Dedman Most people have no reason to worry about getting fatally ill from COVID-19. Despite early estimates of fatality rates being about 2%, Sharon Begley reports in STAT News that a new paper puts the estimate closer to 1.4% overall: 0.5% for those [...]

By |2020-03-20T15:14:18+00:00March 19th, 2020|Current Events|1 Comment

Process Safety: How Far We’ve Come

“Life is a journey and not a destination.”  — Lynn H. Hough When Richard Nixon signed OSHA into law in 1970, the United States was looking at 14,000 work-related fatalities per year. With a workforce of about 70 million full-time equivalents, the work-related fatality rate was about 20 fatalities per 200,000,000 hours worked. In 2018, [...]

Emergencies: Who Are Essential Personnel?

“Is there anyone here on staff who you think is non-essential? If you had to give up one name, who would it be?”  — Conan O’Brien During emergencies, managers often feel compelled to order employees to stay home because of the emergency situation, but then go on to exempt "essential employees designated for mandatory operations." Really. [...]

By |2020-03-05T13:50:21+00:00March 5th, 2020|Current Events, Procedures|0 Comments

Here We Go Again: Defunding the CSB

“Here we go again. Fighting for resources. What the hell am I doing here?”  — Brad Pitt as Roy McBride in Ad Astra I just received an email from a client. They were alarmed that the proposed Federal budget included, again, defunding the Chemical Safety Board, and wanted to know what they could do to [...]

By |2020-02-13T16:59:10+00:00February 13th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

What We Know: Another Explosion in Houston

“All I know is what I read in the papers.”  — Will Rogers When there is a catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals, I want to know about it. I want to know what happened, why it happened, and what I can learn to keep it from happening again. I go to news accounts. All [...]

By |2020-02-03T20:35:41+00:00January 30th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Things We Worry About: Celebratory Gunfire

“[It’s the] wild west in Dutchtown to ring in the new year. :(”  — Jennie Foster on Nextdoor In my neighborhood, you don’t need a clock or a countdown on television to know the approach of the new year. You just need to listen to the intensity of the gunfire. The random shots start around [...]

By |2020-01-02T14:39:49+00:00January 2nd, 2020|Current Events|0 Comments

A Fatal Cleaning Incident: Familiarity Breeds …

“While devastated at this unimaginable loss, we are so very proud that Ryan died while trying to protect his fellow employees and restaurant patrons.”  — family of Ryan Baldera On November 7, 2019, a restaurant employee in Burlington, Massachusetts was overcome by fumes from a “strong chemical cleaning agent” and died. Thirteen others were taken [...]

By |2019-11-14T17:48:11+00:00November 14th, 2019|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Dia de los Muertos: Remembering the Dead

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  — George Santayana Our offices on Cherokee Street exist in the midst of a vibrant Hispanic community. So here in our neighborhood, Dia de los Muertos is in getting in full swing and will be observed through November 2. Dia de los Muertos, the [...]

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+00:00August 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+00:00July 18th, 2019|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments