My Process Isn’t Covered by the PSM Standard

“Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you.”  —Frank Crane You’ve done it! You found a way to operate your process without ever going over the 10,000 lb threshold quantity for flammable liquids or gases. You’ve found substitutes for the toxic [...]

By | 2018-07-12T13:47:39+00:00 July 12th, 2018|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Human Factors: The Power of Words

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”  —Hermann Hesse I was just treated to a full-body pat-down by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). For frequent flyers, tales of woe regarding the TSA are like, um, opinions. Everybody has [...]

Abandon-in-Place or Decommission?

“Let go of the attachment, keep the lesson.”  L.J. Vanier On February 16, 2007, a propane fire broke out at the Valero McKee Refinery in Sunray, Texas.  Three workers were injured and the refinery was forced to shut down for nearly two months.  The CSB investigated and determined that water settling out of a propane [...]

How Rare is Rare?

“The unlikely combination of potatoes and pasta does appear in some Italian recipes.”  Yotam Ottolenghi People sometimes have a hard time appreciating the difference between risk and consequences. To help, we ask them to imagine the worst thing possible that could actually happen at their plant, but not to say what it is. Then we [...]

Top 12 Issues for Facility Siting Studies: What Does OSHA Expect?

“I just let emotion dictate what the arrangement is.”  Jeff Buckley, singer-songwriter Emotion is a great way to approach the arrangement of music. As an approach to the arrangement of hazards in a facility that processes highly hazardous chemicals, however, it leaves a lot to be desired. So, OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard demands that [...]

Just to be Safe: Can You be Too Conservative?

“I’m a conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.”  George H.W.Bush We’ve all heard it.  “You need to be conservative, just to be on the safe side.”  It’s an article of faith in the safety community.  Like all articles of faith and other religious beliefs, any deviation is heresy with the potential for excommunication.  [...]

Simplifying Safety Critical

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen R Covey An important part of managing process safety is deciding what equipment is critical to the process and its safety. Of course, it is important to carefully maintain all equipment, but not all equipment is safety critical. An [...]

What Does an OSHA Fine Mean?

“There is no worse place … to be than on Page 1, above the fold in your daily newspaper.”  Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency When high profile disasters happen, incidents with a lot of media coverage, I’ve noticed that news organizations make a point of reporting how many OSHA citations [...]

Spark Detection

“A mighty flame follows a little spark.”  Dante Alighieri Sparks can cause fires. Good news if you want fire. Bad news if fires, or worse, explosions, are something you want to avoid. So, it should come as no surprise that the National Fire Protection Association takes a dim view of sparks. The Dust Hazard Analysis [...]

Wait For It! Are Trip Delays Okay?

“But the important thing about learning to wait, I feel sure, is to know what you are waiting for.”  —Anna Neagle Many safety instrumented functions (SIFs) are deliberately designed to wait before tripping.  Like a sergeant commanding his troops to “Wait for it!” the SIF designer is anxious that the SIF not trip prematurely. Some [...]