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

Slow Down: The FIU Bridge Collapse

“Have you ever noticed when something bad happens, people automatically look for someone to blame?”  Amy Roberts I’m not a structural engineer, which means that I’m not qualified to comment on what went wrong when the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed on Thursday, March 15, 2018. I didn’t work on the design or [...]

By | 2018-03-20T15:42:52+00:00 March 19th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Workplace Safety – The Road to Success

“If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results. You have to water the flowers you want to grow.”  Stephen Covey When you think of workplace safety, what comes to mind?  We tend to associate safety with hardhats and safety glasses. However, workplace safety is influenced by factors beyond the proper use [...]

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 [...]

Who Gets In? Plant Access Control

“We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.” – Lyndon B. Johnson In LOPA, the role of people can be broken down into three categories: Victims, villains, and heroes.  Access control serves not only to reduce the number of victims but also restrict access for villains. [...]

Occupational Safety versus Process Safety – What’s the Difference?

“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work.  It is a matter of life and death.  It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die.”  Sir Brian Appleton A little over a year ago, in A Beginner’s Guide to Process [...]

By | 2018-01-25T14:33:07+00:00 January 25th, 2018|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

New Year, New Safety Goals

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey With 2017 coming to an end and 2018 just beginning, we’re provided with an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments (and failures) of the past year while also looking ahead towards what we want to accomplish in the year [...]

By | 2018-01-18T14:37:18+00:00 January 18th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Workplace Fatalities 2016

Each December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the final statistics workplace fatalities for the previous year.  The 2016 statistics and chart package came out last month; we took a moment to look them over and there were few surprises: The overall fatality rate in 2016 was about the same as it was for the [...]

By | 2018-01-19T13:59:54+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

So I Know You Understand: Training Verification

“I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”  —Alan Greenspan I once heard a young operator complain, “All we do around here is safety training. Nobody understands half of it and the other half is just common [...]