Changing the Bet: The Safety Experience

“When you gamble with safety, you bet your life.”  Slogan on an industrial entrance mat The biggest obstacle to getting people to heed safety training is that unsafe behavior does not result in certain death. The problem with a safety slogan like, “When you gamble with safety, you bet your life,” is that most people, [...]

By | 2019-10-03T14:19:21+00:00 October 3rd, 2019|Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Someone Else’s Experience

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”  — C.S.Lewis We all learn from experience. When it comes to brutal lessons, though, it is better to learn from someone else’s experience.  In the course of our work, clients have shared some experiences with us that everyone can learn from.  [...]

By | 2019-09-26T13:14:16+00:00 September 26th, 2019|Process Safety, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

PSM Auditor: Coach or Umpire?

“Umpires don’t make the rules.  They apply them…They make sure everybody plays by the rules.  But it is a limited role.  Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”  — Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts A call about doing a PSM audit usually begins with a question from the caller about whether [...]

Seven Questions: The Essence of HazOps

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”  — Francis Bacon There are about a gazillion “best” ways to do HazOps. What they all have in common, however, is that they use worksheets that are set up as tables that look at deviations in a node. For each deviation, a HazOp team considers “Causes”, “Consequences”, “Safeguards”, [...]

By | 2019-08-29T14:38:07+00:00 August 29th, 2019|PHA, Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

Unsafe Behaviors and Unsafe Conditions: What’s the Difference?

“I did everything right.  I don’t understand why it happened.”— Aleksandr Akimov, Chernobyl engineer You’ve probably heard of the new HBO miniseries, Chernobyl.  The show is a fairly accurate retelling of the events preceding and immediately follow the nuclear disaster that occurred in Pripyat, Ukraine on April 26, 1986.  Like any dramatized television production, it [...]

By | 2019-08-01T13:18:17+00:00 August 1st, 2019|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

As Safe as You Want to Be

“If the government wanted people to drive safely, they’d mandate a spike in the middle of each steering wheel.”  — Gordon Tullock We call economics “the dismal science.” Economist Gordon Tullock certainly reinforced that idea when he applied the economic phenomena of risk compensation to driving safety and suggested that we would all drive more [...]

By | 2019-06-06T15:27:00+00:00 June 6th, 2019|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

SIL Certification: Necessary or Sufficient?

“Contrary to what many parents tell their children, talent and hard work are neither necessary nor sufficient for economic success.”  —Robert H. Frank We are all guilty of telling tales we know to be untrue in order to encourage virtuous behavior. Parents tell their children to be good so Santa Clause will come. OSHA tells [...]

By | 2019-05-23T16:10:03+00:00 May 23rd, 2019|Process Safety|0 Comments

Doing HazOps the RIGHT Way!

“Watching two engineers argue is like watching pigs wallow in mud. Eventually you figure out that they do it because they like to.”  — Anonymous I’m still learning better ways to do HazOps. And since there are better ways, then what I am doing now couldn’t possibly be the best. So, what is the RIGHT [...]

By | 2019-05-16T13:53:51+00:00 May 16th, 2019|PHA, Procedures, Process Safety|0 Comments

Lab Safety: A Three Phase System

“A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.”  George S. Patton, Jr. I intended to begin with “A good plan, well executed, is better than a perfect plan, poorly executed,” but when I checked, that’s not what General Patton said.  What he said was “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than [...]

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 [...]