Double Jeopardy: Impossible?

“Everything is impossible until it is done.”  — Robert H. Goddard In 1921, annoyed with ignorant criticism, Robert Goddard published a piece in Scientific American in defense of the potential for travel to the moon. It’s always easier to say something is impossible than to address the potential of it happening. Double Jeopardy When someone [...]

Notre-Dame Burning: Don’t Wait for the Fire

“If your house were burning down and you could take away one thing, what would it be?”…”I’d take the fire.” — Jean Cocteau, interviewed by André Fraigneau The images of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burning broke my heart. I am grateful that people and organizations around the world have vowed to contribute to the [...]

By | 2019-04-18T13:28:58+00:00 April 18th, 2019|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Lab Safety: Being Interested Isn’t Enough

“Once trained, the hazard often becomes a routine part of their experimentation and researchers perceive themselves to be experts in handling the hazard. Perceived familiarity can shift the awareness level from cautiousness to complacency.”  — University of California Center for Laboratory Safety It didn’t get much press.  Science reported on it, as did Chemical & [...]

By | 2019-01-03T18:58:49+00:00 January 3rd, 2019|Chemicals, Procedures, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Lock the Gates Behind You

“If you want zero risk in the plant, send everyone home and lock the gate.”  — Industrial safety proverb I don’t remember when I first heard it, but I know I’ve said it. Risk is inherent to the chemical enterprise. We can reduce it, but we cannot eliminate it entirely. Zero risk is not an [...]

By | 2018-12-20T13:45:58+00:00 December 20th, 2018|Current Events, Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Things We Worry About: Plane Crashes

“You are now statistically more likely to be elected president of the United States in your lifetime than you are to die in a plane crash. What an amazing achievement as a society! But what we end up focusing on are the catastrophic failures that are incredibly rare but happen every now and then.” – [...]

Caps and Plugs: Why We Do The Things We Do

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”  —Warren Buffett Caps and plugs serve no process function. It is a common practice to install a cap or plug on the end of a line that is open to the atmosphere, but the justification is for safety, [...]

By | 2018-10-18T15:27:00+00:00 October 18th, 2018|PHA, Process Safety|0 Comments

Operator Stress: How Does it Impact Safety?

“I’ve never seen a tombstone that read ‘Here lies such and such, he was a really great asset to his company.’”  Unknown Have you ever tried to make an important decision or complete a task when you’re tired and under stress?  Probably so, which means you know it isn’t fun or easy.  In many industrial [...]

By | 2018-09-27T15:31:43+00:00 September 27th, 2018|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Cracks in the Bridge: FIU Part 2

“…obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there, so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective…” —W. Denney Pate, Lead Engineer on FIU Bridge Project Obviously, Denney Pate got it wrong. In that voice mail message to the Florida [...]

By | 2018-09-20T18:08:31+00:00 September 20th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

That’s Hazardous? Process Safety in Unexpected Places

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” –Heraclitus I work for a process safety consulting company and we often participate in community events that bring members of the general public through our door.  The first question we always encounter [...]

By | 2018-08-23T14:47:09+00:00 August 23rd, 2018|Chemicals, Combustible Dust, Process Safety|0 Comments

Defeating Safety: 3 Reasons People Put Protective Devices Out of Commission and What to Do About Them

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”  —Napoleon Hill Ever found a fire door propped open? It won’t do much good that way, but studies have found that the probability of finding a fire door propped [...]

By | 2018-08-16T13:53:40+00:00 August 16th, 2018|Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments