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 [...]

Safety Incidents: Blaming the Victim

“Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect.” –Lionel Trilling Although the phrase, “blaming the victim,” has been around for almost 50 years, it has received renewed attention, especially regarding sexual assault and bullying. Widely condemned, victim blaming is the tendency to blame victims and [...]

By | 2018-06-21T15:03:06+00:00 June 21st, 2018|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

If It Weren’t For Bad Luck, We’d Have No Luck at All

Only bad golfers are lucky. They’re the ones bouncing balls off trees, curbs, turtles and cars. Good golfers have bad luck. When you hit the ball straight, a funny bounce is bound to be unlucky.”  –Lee Trevino At the recent Global Congress on Process Safety, a slogan showed up several times. In presentations, on displays, [...]

By | 2018-06-15T01:34:16+00:00 June 14th, 2018|Process Safety|0 Comments

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 [...]