PPE: It’s Not Personal

“The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”  — John B. Finch I have mixed feelings about motorcycle helmets and mandatory helmet laws. As a safety professional, I know that they reduce the likelihood of head injuries and want to see motorcyclists wearing them. As a student of psychology and [...]

By |2020-06-11T18:58:31+00:00June 11th, 2020|Current Events, Procedures, Workplace Safety|1 Comment

Administrative Controls: The Invisible Safeguards

“Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent.” – Author Unknown Most safeguards can be easily observed. They might be the mechanical guards that prevent one’s fingers getting ripped off by moving parts, the fences that keep unauthorized people out of a hazardous area, or the alarms that blare through the plant when the reactor reaches [...]

The Safety Swamp: COVID-19 and Other Alligators

“When one is up to his ass in alligators, it is easy to forget that his original objective was to drain the swamp.”  — William Moore Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, just about every person in the world now knows that PPE stands for personal protective equipment. But instead of thinking about hardhats and steel-toed [...]

By |2020-04-09T15:45:21+00:00April 9th, 2020|Current Events, Procedures, Workplace Safety|1 Comment

Behavioral Based Safety Mistakes: Why Your Program is Failing

“It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.”  — W. Edwards Deming When I began working for Bluefield Process Safety four years ago, I was prepared to abandon my passion of psychology to pursue another – safety.  What I didn’t know is that, often, [...]

By |2020-04-02T14:50:55+00:00April 2nd, 2020|Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

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

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: HazOp Nodes

“Come on, baby, let’s start anew, ‘cause breaking up is hard to do.”  — Neil Sedaka Before a HazOp team ever assembles, the facilitator has some important tasks to complete: get agreement with management on the scope of the review, identify the boundaries of the study, and break the process up into nodes.  And breaking [...]

By |2020-01-09T16:34:36+00:00January 9th, 2020|PHA, Procedures, Process Safety Management|1 Comment

Everyone Gets a Prize: Employee Participation

“Nor should participation trophies be offered for simply showing up.”  — Kevin Dickenson OSHA is fond of pointing out that the Process Safety Management Standard, 29 CFR-1910.119 (PSM), is a performance-based standard.  While they generally avoid telling us how to comply with standard, they expect us to comply with standard, nonetheless.  There is no prize [...]

By |2019-12-12T15:11:38+00:00December 12th, 2019|Procedures, Process Safety Management|1 Comment

Improving Human Performance Reliability

 “We must accept human error as inevitable - and design around that fact.”  — Donald Berwick The idea of human error and its contribution to industrial incidents has been the center of debate in recent years.  If you’ve been part of more than one incident investigation, you’ve probably experienced an incident being attributed to human [...]

Fools Rush In: What We Really Expect

“For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.”  — Alexander Pope I once led some process safety training that involved people from several different plants from around the world. After almost a week together, the people in the training became pretty comfortable with one another.  One of the last topics of the training was [...]

By |2019-10-10T14:13:31+00:00October 10th, 2019|Procedures, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Yes, But…Hardware Fault Tolerance

“Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universita Committeeatum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D.,… er, ‘Doctor of Thinkology’.”  —The Wizard of Oz Most of our readers understand that for a Safety Instrumented Function—a SIF—to have a particular Safety Integrity Level—a SIL—its Average Probability [...]