Out of the Blocks: Credit for Human Response

“Fear is often our immediate response to uncertainty.”  — Gabrielle Bernstein In 2001, when the CCPS book, Layer of Protection Analysis: Simplified Process Risk Assessment, “the purple book”, stated that human response is “a relatively weak protection layer” and “less reliable than engineering controls”, many people were willing to accept that piece of conventional wisdom. [...]

We’re Not Wizards

“But how they can be charged with negligence because they were not wizards, appellant’s brief does not make clear.”  — Osmond K. Fraenkel, successfully arguing before the New York Supreme Court, 1935 In a world where companies tout “Zero Incidents,” not as an aspirational definition of perfect safety, but as a measurable and achievable target, [...]

PSM Auditor: Coach or Umpire?

“Umpires don’t make the rules.  They apply them…They make sure everybody plays by the rules.  But it is a limited role.  Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”  — Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts A call about doing a PSM audit usually begins with a question from the caller about whether [...]

More Than Three? Limits to Redundancy

“How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can’t even trust his own pants.”  — Henry Fonda as Frank, in Once Upon a Time in the West There’s a cliché in the movies that involves a paranoid urban apartment-dweller with a dozen or more locks, deadbolts, chains, and [...]

Seven Questions: The Essence of HazOps

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”  — Francis Bacon There are about a gazillion “best” ways to do HazOps. What they all have in common, however, is that they use worksheets that are set up as tables that look at deviations in a node. For each deviation, a HazOp team considers “Causes”, “Consequences”, “Safeguards”, [...]

By |2019-08-29T14:38:07+00:00August 29th, 2019|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|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 [...]

A Process Safety Hat Trick

“I hated being pregnant, but I never minded being in labor.  I knew I would get a prize at the end.”  — Chris Schmidt, mother of four Things have been a little crazy in Saint Louis for the past week. Founded in 1967, the Blues Hockey Club has finally won a Stanley Cup. Everyone feels [...]

Double Jeopardy: Impossible?

“Everything is impossible until it is done.”  — Robert H. Goddard In 1921, annoyed with ignorant criticism, Robert Goddard published a piece in Scientific American in defense of the potential for travel to the moon. It’s always easier to say something is impossible than to address the potential of it happening. Double Jeopardy When someone [...]

An Incident? Don’t Recommend Training!

“It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.”  — Rachel Wolchin One of the most common recommendations made as a result of incident safety investigations is “improved training,” especially when the investigation concludes that the incident was the result of an error. It is not because training is so [...]

“No Harm, No Foul”: Madness

“As they depend, not upon the agent, but upon fortune, they cannot be the proper foundation for any sentiment” — Adam Smith We all believe that people should follow safety rules all the time. Not because there is a harmful outcome every time someone violates a safety rule or commits an unsafe act. Because usually [...]