The Safety Swamp: COVID-19 and Other Alligators

“When one is up to his ass in alligators, it is easy to forget that his original objective was to drain the swamp.”  — William Moore Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, just about every person in the world now knows that PPE stands for personal protective equipment. But instead of thinking about hardhats and steel-toed [...]

By |2020-04-09T15:45:21+00:00April 9th, 2020|Current Events, Procedures, Workplace Safety|1 Comment

Behavioral Based Safety Mistakes: Why Your Program is Failing

“It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.”  — W. Edwards Deming When I began working for Bluefield Process Safety four years ago, I was prepared to abandon my passion of psychology to pursue another – safety.  What I didn’t know is that, often, [...]

By |2020-04-02T14:50:55+00:00April 2nd, 2020|Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Here We Go Again: Defunding the CSB

“Here we go again. Fighting for resources. What the hell am I doing here?”  — Brad Pitt as Roy McBride in Ad Astra I just received an email from a client. They were alarmed that the proposed Federal budget included, again, defunding the Chemical Safety Board, and wanted to know what they could do to [...]

By |2020-02-13T16:59:10+00:00February 13th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Villains, Victims, and Heroes in Process Safety

“You’re a hero one day, you’re a villain another day.”  — Vincent Tan Every good story is a story of conflict. It has a villain. It has a victim. And in the best stories, it has a hero. The story of a process incident or scenario is no different. It has villains—causes. It has victims—receptors, [...]

What We Know: Another Explosion in Houston

“All I know is what I read in the papers.”  — Will Rogers When there is a catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals, I want to know about it. I want to know what happened, why it happened, and what I can learn to keep it from happening again. I go to news accounts. All [...]

By |2020-02-03T20:35:41+00:00January 30th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Employee Retention as a Safety Solution: How to Keep Good Employees

“A bad system will beat a good person every time.” -W.E. Deming According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 40 million American workers quit their jobs in 2018.  That’s almost 27% of the workforce.  Furthermore, a 2019 survey revealed that 75% of employees in the U.S. do not stay at their jobs for more [...]

By |2020-01-23T15:40:10+00:00January 23rd, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

2018 BLS Fatality Report: Has Anything Changed?

“The more things change, the more they remain the same.”  — Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr When I was a young engineer living in a small town in central Massachusetts, I would walk into the town center to pick up groceries and go to the post office. On the way, there was a body shop. I got [...]

By |2019-12-26T16:34:36+00:00December 26th, 2019|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Improving Human Performance Reliability

 “We must accept human error as inevitable - and design around that fact.”  — Donald Berwick The idea of human error and its contribution to industrial incidents has been the center of debate in recent years.  If you’ve been part of more than one incident investigation, you’ve probably experienced an incident being attributed to human [...]

A Fatal Cleaning Incident: Familiarity Breeds …

“While devastated at this unimaginable loss, we are so very proud that Ryan died while trying to protect his fellow employees and restaurant patrons.”  — family of Ryan Baldera On November 7, 2019, a restaurant employee in Burlington, Massachusetts was overcome by fumes from a “strong chemical cleaning agent” and died. Thirteen others were taken [...]

By |2019-11-14T17:48:11+00:00November 14th, 2019|Chemicals, Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Out of the Blocks: Credit for Human Response

“Fear is often our immediate response to uncertainty.”  — Gabrielle Bernstein In 2001, when the CCPS book, Layer of Protection Analysis: Simplified Process Risk Assessment, “the purple book”, stated that human response is “a relatively weak protection layer” and “less reliable than engineering controls”, many people were willing to accept that piece of conventional wisdom. [...]