Things We Worry About: In-plant Derailments

“To invent the train is to invent the rail accident of derailment.”  —Paul Virilio When most of us think of train derailments, we think of horrendous events, like the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in 2013 that destroyed the town in Quebec and killed 47 people. Fortunately, the vast majority of train derailments associated with the chemical [...]

By | 2018-10-11T15:15:59+00:00 October 11th, 2018|Process Safety, Risk Assessment|0 Comments

A New Enforcement Program: Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate

“This program is an enforcement tool to emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards,”  – Kimberly Stille, OSHA Region VII Administrator When the West Fertilizer ammonium nitrate warehouse north of Waco, Texas caught fire and then blew up on April 17, 2013, killing 15 and injuring 160, much was made of the lack of inspections [...]

Operator Stress: How Does it Impact Safety?

“I’ve never seen a tombstone that read ‘Here lies such and such, he was a really great asset to his company.’”  Unknown Have you ever tried to make an important decision or complete a task when you’re tired and under stress?  Probably so, which means you know it isn’t fun or easy.  In many industrial [...]

By | 2018-09-27T15:31:43+00:00 September 27th, 2018|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Things We Worry About: In-plant Truck Releases

“It’s no good crying over spilt milk, because all the forces of the universe are bent on spilling it.”  —William Somerset Maugham Imagine a tank truck shows up at your plant. It’s there to make a delivery or to pick up a load. Perhaps it had to wait overnight in your lot before your shipping [...]

By | 2018-09-13T13:56:16+00:00 September 13th, 2018|Chemicals, Process Safety, Risk Assessment|0 Comments

Arkema: A Ham Sandwich

“The district attorney could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to.” Judge Sol Wachtler Arkema is a ham sandwich. A year ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed, we got to watch trailers loaded with organic peroxide go up in flames and billowing clouds [...]

By | 2018-09-06T15:33:49+00:00 September 6th, 2018|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

That’s Hazardous? Process Safety in Unexpected Places

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” –Heraclitus I work for a process safety consulting company and we often participate in community events that bring members of the general public through our door.  The first question we always encounter [...]

By | 2018-08-23T14:47:09+00:00 August 23rd, 2018|Chemicals, Combustible Dust, Process Safety|0 Comments

Breaking Glass: Facility Siting

“I love the sound of breaking glass.”  Nick Lowe When I was a kid, the song, “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass,” was on the radio. I didn’t get it. I had memories of the sound of breaking glass, none of them good: The sound of an errant baseball going through the neighbor’s picture [...]

By | 2018-08-02T13:39:56+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Audits and Inspections: What’s the Difference?

“There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”  Colin Powell Before I began working in process safety, I worked in banking.  As with the process industry, we had rules and regulations, and repercussions if we failed to comply with them.  As a manager, it was [...]

By | 2018-07-26T12:45:07+00:00 July 26th, 2018|Process Safety|0 Comments

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

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 [...]