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. [...]

Fools Rush In: What We Really Expect

“For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.”  — Alexander Pope I once led some process safety training that involved people from several different plants from around the world. After almost a week together, the people in the training became pretty comfortable with one another.  One of the last topics of the training was [...]

By |2019-10-10T14:13:31+00:00October 10th, 2019|Procedures, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Shelter-in-Place: What the Community Should Know

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  — H.K.Williams On July 18, 2019, two people were injured after a chemical fire broke out at Diamond Chemical Company in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  At least one of the chemicals involved in the fire was chlorine, which is poisonous, especially as a gas.  When it [...]

By |2019-09-05T13:36:34+00:00September 5th, 2019|Chemicals, Process Safety|0 Comments

Do You Need a Hero? Emergency Action Plans

“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.”  — F. Scott Fitzgerald Being a firefighter is about as safe as any typical job in the United States. Fighting house fires is safer.  Fighting industrial fires, on the other hand, is about as dangerous as the most dangerous jobs that are legal. The Dangers [...]

By |2019-02-14T14:32:40+00:00February 14th, 2019|Chemicals, PHA, Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|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+00:00September 6th, 2018|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

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 [...]

This Is Not a Drill

“Air raid, Pearl Harbor. This is not a drill.”  —Lt. Cmdr. Logan Ramsey, 7-Dec-1941 'Beauty' Ramsey sent one of the most famous telegrams of history after watching a Japanese dive bomber’s payload detonate in Pearl Harbor. Other telegrams went out that morning, from the Navy Yard and Kaneohe, but they were largely ignored until smoke [...]

Will Trump Reverse the EPA’s Revised RMP Rules?

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.”  President Donald J. Trump President Trump just reversed the Obama administration’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Regardless of my concerns about hydrocarbon consumption, as a safety professional, I have to welcome the news, knowing as I do that pipelines are the safest way [...]

By |2017-07-24T16:40:38+00:00January 26th, 2017|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments