The Key Bridge Collapse: Are There Lessons for Us Now?

“Catastrophic bridge accidents are rare, but the number and severity of those due to ship collisions far exceed those due to winds, waves, and earthquakes combined.”  — Committee on Ship-Bridge Collisions (1983) On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, shortly before 1:30 am, the cargo ship Dali drifted into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing the bridge’s [...]

By |2024-04-04T09:57:08-05:00April 4th, 2024|Current Events, Procedures, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on The Key Bridge Collapse: Are There Lessons for Us Now?

Crossing Streams: Safety During Simultaneous Operations

“Don’t cross the streams.” -Egon from Ghostbusters It doesn’t take much for two tasks to interfere with one another out in general industry. Work environments can be quite hectic as the end of a fiscal year approaches, where multiple goals and tasks are being wrapped up. Plant life is not much different, except some of [...]

By |2023-11-02T09:34:25-05:00November 2nd, 2023|Chemicals, Procedures, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Crossing Streams: Safety During Simultaneous Operations

Confined Spaces: What Are They?

“Space is something you have to define. Otherwise, it is like anxiety, which is too vague. A fear is something specific. I like claustrophobic spaces, because at least then you know your limits.”  — Louise Bourgeois A group recently met to discuss locking out a process vessel for entry. They identified the agitator, all of [...]

By |2023-09-28T14:07:25-05:00September 28th, 2023|Procedures, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Confined Spaces: What Are They?

Process Safety: Tornadoes in December

“The potential changes to particular provisions of the current PSM standard that OSHA is considering include:  8. Clarifying paragraph (e) to require consideration of natural disasters and extreme temperatures in their PSM programs, in Response to E.O. 13990.”  — OSHA, 20-Sep-2022 call for Stakeholder comments I grew up in the Midwest. I’ve lived in Joplin, [...]

By |2022-12-16T00:06:38-06:00December 16th, 2022|Current Events, Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on Process Safety: Tornadoes in December

The Shipping News

“Eighty thousand pounds of muscle, blood, and steel in a pile. It’s spectacular.”  — Gary Williams No plant in the chemical process industries wants to make the national news. The local news, where the plant’s scholarships for high school students is covered? Sure. But the national news? The only things that get national coverage are [...]

By |2024-02-02T14:43:39-06:00August 25th, 2022|Chemicals, Procedures, Process Safety, Safety Lifecycle|Comments Off on The Shipping News

Eternal Vigilance: Proof Tests are Essential to Safety

“But, after all, no safeguards are adequate, unless the will to give effect to them fully is present.”  — Jawaharial Nehru I had a truly embarrassing experience a couple days ago. I got a flat tire. The flat tire itself wasn’t embarrassing.  Annoying, yes, but not embarrassing. There are road hazards, and even the most [...]

Cooking with Love: Multitasking in the Control Room

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at one time.”  — Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield When our children were young, we ate a lot of [...]

E-Stops: The “Get Fired Button”

“Panic is a natural response to danger, but it’s one that severely compounds the risk.”  — David Ignatius At 2:30 am, on Saturday, October 2, 2021, a split in the San Pedro Bay Pipeline began discharging oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. Low pressure alarms in the control room indicated that there [...]

By |2021-11-18T14:52:54-06:00November 18th, 2021|Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management, Workplace Safety|Comments Off on E-Stops: The “Get Fired Button”

Batch Processes: Consider a Procedural HazOp

“We know we need civilization and laws and procedures, but isn’t it frustrating? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do what we needed to do?”  — Lee Child When someone thinks about a Process Hazard Analysis, a PHA, they usually think about a Hazard and Operability Review, a HazOp. And when they think [...]

By |2021-09-30T17:01:53-05:00September 30th, 2021|Chemicals, PHA, Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on Batch Processes: Consider a Procedural HazOp

How Much Credit for Alarms?

“Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.”  — Ursula K. Le Guin Late one evening a few months after we moved into our offices on Cherokee Street, the alarm went off. My home is nearby, and I got there within a couple of minutes to discover that one of the doors had been [...]

By |2021-06-24T14:49:47-05:00June 24th, 2021|PHA, Procedures, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|Comments Off on How Much Credit for Alarms?
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