A New Enforcement Program: Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate

“This program is an enforcement tool to emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards,”  – Kimberly Stille, OSHA Region VII Administrator When the West Fertilizer ammonium nitrate warehouse north of Waco, Texas caught fire and then blew up on April 17, 2013, killing 15 and injuring 160, much was made of the lack of inspections [...]

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

Audits and Inspections: What’s the Difference?

“There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”  Colin Powell Before I began working in process safety, I worked in banking.  As with the process industry, we had rules and regulations, and repercussions if we failed to comply with them.  As a manager, it was [...]

By | 2018-07-26T12:45:07+00:00 July 26th, 2018|Process Safety|0 Comments

My Process Isn’t Covered by the PSM Standard

“Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you.”  —Frank Crane You’ve done it! You found a way to operate your process without ever going over the 10,000 lb threshold quantity for flammable liquids or gases. You’ve found substitutes for the toxic [...]

By | 2018-07-12T13:47:39+00:00 July 12th, 2018|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

Settling for More: Will a Grain Explosion Lead to Greater Safety?

“Issuance of this Citation does not constitute a finding that a violation of the Act has occurred.”  —from OSHA Citation and Notification of Penalty On October 29, 2011, a grain elevator explosion in Atchison, Kansas killed six men—four employees and two grain inspectors. OSHA cited the Bartlett Grain Company’s facility and proposed a fine of [...]

By | 2018-01-19T13:56:54+00:00 January 11th, 2018|Combustible Dust, Current Events|0 Comments