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.” – [...]

Caps and Plugs: Why We Do The Things We Do

“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 is a common practice to install a cap or plug on the end of a line that is open to the atmosphere, but the justification is for safety, [...]

By | 2018-10-18T15:27:00+00:00 October 18th, 2018|PHA, Process Safety|0 Comments

Seven Habits for More Effective PHAs

“Most people would rather have their wisdom teeth extracted without the benefit of anesthesia than sit through a PHA.”  PHAs are tough.  They take focus and energy and they take people away from their regular jobs, which don’t go away just because they are in a PHA. Yet, like good dental hygiene, no one thinks [...]

By | 2018-02-15T14:30:36+00:00 February 15th, 2018|PHA, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Safety Lifecycle – Part 3: Developing Risk Tolerance Criteria

“If we accept there is no such thing as ‘zero risk’ then we should not spin the meaning of words with assertions such as ‘all accidents are preventable.’ – Dr. Rob Long In terms of process safety, one definition of risk is, “[The] combination of the frequency of occurrence of harm [the likelihood] and severity [...]

Check Valves and Risk Assessment: Should You Take Credit?

“Unless you go forward then you are going back.”  - Greg Lake Check valves (CVs) are routinely installed as safeguards against reverse flow.  Just as routinely, check valves are dismissed as safeguards during process hazard analysis.  If check valves are of no value, then there is no point in installing them.  On the other hand, [...]

By | 2017-11-14T21:24:36+00:00 September 28th, 2017|PHA, Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Safety Lifecycle|7 Comments

External Plant Fires: What’s the Likelihood?

“A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.”  Robert Herrick During a process hazard analysis (PHA) and a layer of protection analysis (LOPA), the scenario of an external plant fire frequently arises. From our experience facilitating PHAs and LOPAs, we’ve found that a common cause for this is a pooling of flammable liquid or oil getting [...]

By | 2018-01-30T20:13:52+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Chemicals, Gas, PHA, Process Safety, Risk Assessment|1 Comment

Pressure, How high is too high?

“Safety is not a gadget but a state of mind.”  Eleanor Everet Over-pressure scenarios can be defined as a situation resulting from the internal pressure within piping or vessels exceeding the maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP).  The term “over-pressure” can make those in the process industry cringe. This revulsion is born from associating the term [...]

By | 2017-07-21T19:20:57+00:00 March 7th, 2017|PHA, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Consider

“There is no greater evil than men’s failure to consult and to consider.”  Sophocles In our office, we write a lot of recommendations.  As a rule, we begin recommendations with the words “consider” or “confirm.” This isn’t because we’re looking for weasel-words. It’s because not every recommendation is the best idea. Some recommendations aren’t even [...]

By | 2017-07-24T17:21:52+00:00 December 6th, 2016|PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|0 Comments