Mincing Words

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”  George Orwell, 1984 We’ve all done it.  We’re talking about something terrible and rather than calling it what it is, we choose words that are softer, less harsh.  Or we call it something that completely hides our meaning. Instead of talking [...]

By | 2017-11-16T14:26:29+00:00 November 16th, 2017|Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

“It’s Always Been That Way”: Normalization of Deviation

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.” [...]

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 | 2017-09-07T14:02:34+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Chemicals, Gas, PHA, Process Safety, Risk Assessment|1 Comment

Getting It Wrong

“Adversity does not build character, it reveals it” -James Lane Allen I have been very interested in what the press has had to say about process safety issues following Hurricane Harvey. I was also very gratified when the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) put out a warning that start-up was one the most dangerous operations [...]

By | 2017-09-07T14:15:38+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Backward Looking Vs. Forward Looking

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”  Henry Ford Your company has had an incident or a near miss, the investigation is closed and the cause has been determined.  Now what?  In an ideal world, the goal is a return to normal operations with a lower likelihood that the incident [...]

Protection Under Pressure: Understanding HIPPS

“Everybody handles pressure differently.”  Gerry Cooney High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS) are a type of Safety Instrumented System (SIS) used as an alternative to or in conjunction with pressure relief systems.  HIPPS were added to the Standards as an alternative to pressure relief valves in August of 1996 after many safety professionals realized that [...]

By | 2017-08-03T15:10:00+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|Process Safety, Safety Lifecycle|1 Comment

Red Shirts: Reducing Occupancy to Reduce Risk

“Red Shirt: In Star Trek, red-uniformed security officers and engineers who accompany the main characters on landing parties who often suffer quick deaths.[”  Wikipedia I didn’t see the NBC television series, Star Trek, until it went into syndication, when it became a staple of television viewing for everyone I knew while I was in college. [...]

Incident Investigations – The Blame Game

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  Albert Einstein In Incident Investigations: A Guide for Employers, OSHA defines an incident as “a work-related event in which an injury or ill-health (regardless of severity) or fatality occurred, or could have occurred.”  Incidents vary from large scale, such as the [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:32:03+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments