The Ford Pinto

“The Ford Pinto—the barbecue that seats four.” –Johnny Carson This month, February 2018, will be the 40th anniversary of the California jury verdict in the Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. case. The jury awarded Richard Grimshaw $2,516,000 in compensatory damages and $125,000,000 in punitive damages, although the trial judge reduced the punitive damages to $3,500,000. [...]

By | 2018-02-08T14:38:29+00:00 February 8th, 2018|Current Events, Risk Assessment|0 Comments

New Year, New Safety Goals

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey With 2017 coming to an end and 2018 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 | 2018-01-18T14:37:18+00:00 January 18th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Workplace Fatalities 2016

Each December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the final statistics workplace fatalities for the previous year.  The 2016 statistics and chart package came out last month; we took a moment to look them over and there were few surprises: The overall fatality rate in 2016 was about the same as it was for the [...]

By | 2018-01-19T13:59:54+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Settling for More: Will a Grain Explosion Lead to Greater Safety?

“Issuance of this Citation does not constitute a finding that a violation of the Act has occurred.”  —from OSHA Citation and Notification of Penalty On October 29, 2011, a grain elevator explosion in Atchison, Kansas killed six men—four employees and two grain inspectors. OSHA cited the Bartlett Grain Company’s facility and proposed a fine of [...]

By | 2018-01-19T13:56:54+00:00 January 11th, 2018|Combustible Dust, Current Events|0 Comments

Silent Night: Candle Safety This Christmas

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  Washington Irving Christmas is also the season for crackling fires in the fire place and carols sung by candlelight.  Unfortunately, Christmas is the season for the rare but devastating church fire, when a church [...]

By | 2017-12-14T15:09:48+00:00 December 14th, 2017|Current Events|0 Comments

Getting It Wrong

“Adversity does not build character, it reveals it” -James Lane Allen I have been very interested in what the press has had to say about process safety issues following Hurricane Harvey. I was also very gratified when the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) put out a warning that start-up was one the most dangerous operations [...]

By | 2018-01-26T19:36:56+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

OSHA “What’s New” – Public Opportunity to Comment on Collection of Information

On July 31st, the Department of Labor (DOL) submitted seven OSHA sponsored information collection requests (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval titled: "Rigging Equipment for Material Handling," "Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard," "Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers [...]

By | 2017-08-11T15:44:21+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Current Events|0 Comments

Defunding the CSB: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

“Defunding the CSB is just plain stupid.”  -Mark Rosenzweig, Editor-in-Chief, Chemical Processing It has been a month since the administration announced a list of 19 independent federal agencies that it wants to completely defund in the 2018 budget.  Tucked in among the regional economic development agencies and the agencies that support the arts and humanities [...]

By | 2017-07-21T20:38:49+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Will Trump Reverse the EPA’s Revised RMP Rules?

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.”  President Donald J. Trump President Trump just reversed the Obama administration’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Regardless of my concerns about hydrocarbon consumption, as a safety professional, I have to welcome the news, knowing as I do that pipelines are the safest way [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:40:38+00:00 January 26th, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Still Higher OSHA Fines

Just when you were getting used to the new levels of fines from OSHA, they’ve increased again.  The Federal Register just published new fines for the Department of Labor, including new fines for OSHA.  The fines for willful violations will increase 1.64%, from $124,709 to $126,749, while the maximum penalty for most citations will go [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:41:04+00:00 January 20th, 2017|Current Events|0 Comments