Whose Fault? What to Do with Crazy

“Minimizing your exposure to pathology goes a long, long way.”  — Dr. Susan Biali Haas When a sensor faults, it doesn’t stop providing information. It’s just unreliable information. It may be correct, it may not, but it is not to be believed.  Like a clock that has stopped but is still correct twice a day, [...]

By |2020-05-14T13:25:05+00:00May 14th, 2020|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Eight Ideas for Sharing Process Safety with Your Kids

“I was looking for a way to do meaningful work and seeing how much satisfaction my father derived from his job made me see it was a profession I should be considering.”  — Elizabeth Auld With stay-at-home orders still in place in many jurisdictions, and good sense dictating them even as the orders are lifted, [...]

By |2020-05-07T14:22:40+00:00May 7th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

Managing Process Safety: Lessons from the Pandemic

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”  — Samuel Johnson COVID-19, with its 14-day – fortnight – incubation period has had the effect of concentrating some of the best minds in the world. I have read several articles recently where the authors suggest how the [...]

By |2020-04-23T15:29:27+00:00April 23rd, 2020|Current Events, Process Safety|0 Comments

What If There Was No PSM Standard?

“What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”  — Mark Twain, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn We love to hate regulations. The harder it is to comply with them, the more we hate them. [...]

By |2020-03-26T14:35:52+00:00March 26th, 2020|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

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

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: HazOp Nodes

“Come on, baby, let’s start anew, ‘cause breaking up is hard to do.”  — Neil Sedaka Before a HazOp team ever assembles, the facilitator has some important tasks to complete: get agreement with management on the scope of the review, identify the boundaries of the study, and break the process up into nodes.  And breaking [...]

By |2020-01-09T16:34:36+00:00January 9th, 2020|PHA, Procedures, Process Safety Management|1 Comment

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

Everyone Gets a Prize: Employee Participation

“Nor should participation trophies be offered for simply showing up.”  — Kevin Dickenson OSHA is fond of pointing out that the Process Safety Management Standard, 29 CFR-1910.119 (PSM), is a performance-based standard.  While they generally avoid telling us how to comply with standard, they expect us to comply with standard, nonetheless.  There is no prize [...]

By |2019-12-12T15:11:38+00:00December 12th, 2019|Procedures, Process Safety Management|1 Comment

Inconceivable: Unrecognized Hazards

“You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  - Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, in The Princess Bride I find the phrase “While we never anticipate a loss of cabin pressure…” incredibly annoying.  To anticipate means to think of something that will or might happen in the [...]

By |2019-12-05T14:08:07+00:00December 5th, 2019|Process Safety, Risk Assessment, Safety Lifecycle|1 Comment

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. [...]