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 [...]

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 [...]

Changing Safety Culture

“How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one, but the lightbulb really has to want to change.”  Anonymous A former student, now working in industry, recently called me. He said he had a safety question. “How do you change safety culture? I can’t find that in my notes from your class.” [...]

By | 2018-03-29T13:36:06+00:00 March 29th, 2018|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

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 [...]

Man Down: Knowing When Someone is Hurt

“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”  Isaac Asimov We recently facilitated a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) where the question came up, “What if there was a release and an operator was suddenly overcome? How would we know?” The PHA team considered several possible safeguards: rounds, radio [...]