Things We Worry About: In-plant Derailments

“To invent the train is to invent the rail accident of derailment.”  —Paul Virilio When most of us think of train derailments, we think of horrendous events, like the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in 2013 that destroyed the town in Quebec and killed 47 people. Fortunately, the vast majority of train derailments associated with the chemical [...]

By | 2018-10-11T15:15:59+00:00 October 11th, 2018|Process Safety, Risk Assessment|0 Comments

Before You Hear It on the News

“I just wanted to call you and let you know before you heard it on the news.”  —Mike Schmidt When we were newlyweds, my husband once called me at work to let me know that he was OK. He wanted to tell me about something that might show up on the local newscast later in [...]

By | 2018-08-30T15:50:43+00:00 August 30th, 2018|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Abandon-in-Place or Decommission?

“Let go of the attachment, keep the lesson.”  L.J. Vanier On February 16, 2007, a propane fire broke out at the Valero McKee Refinery in Sunray, Texas.  Three workers were injured and the refinery was forced to shut down for nearly two months.  The CSB investigated and determined that water settling out of a propane [...]

How Rare is Rare?

“The unlikely combination of potatoes and pasta does appear in some Italian recipes.”  Yotam Ottolenghi People sometimes have a hard time appreciating the difference between risk and consequences. To help, we ask them to imagine the worst thing possible that could actually happen at their plant, but not to say what it is. Then we [...]

Just to be Safe: Can You be Too Conservative?

“I’m a conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.”  George H.W.Bush We’ve all heard it.  “You need to be conservative, just to be on the safe side.”  It’s an article of faith in the safety community.  Like all articles of faith and other religious beliefs, any deviation is heresy with the potential for excommunication.  [...]

Tolerable Risk, Analysis from a Novice

“Safety is a common denominator across all aspects of life, hence knowledge should always be shared.  It is not a matter for industry it is a matter for humanity.”  Doug Bourne, technical director at PM Lucas Six months ago, if you would have asked me to define the phrase “tolerable risk”, I would have stared [...]

By | 2017-07-24T16:41:57+00:00 January 12th, 2017|Process Safety Management, Risk Assessment|0 Comments