Dear Austin: Is It Going to Get Better?

“The future depends on what you do today.”  — Mahatma Gandhi “How intensive is the view on safety in the engineering, manufacturing, and industrial world?” As this semester closes, one of my students asked me what I thought personally about safety. He graduates in a couple of weeks, and went on to ask, “What is [...]

By |2020-12-03T16:09:57+00:00December 3rd, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Covid Fatigue? Give it a Rest

“As the pandemic drags on, following COVID-19 prevention guidelines can feel like more and more of a challenge.”  — Jay Maddock, Professor of Public Health Tired of the pandemic? Tired of social distancing, of wearing a mask, of avoiding crowds? Who’s not? Get over it. The Covid-19 pandemic has come roaring back in the United [...]

By |2020-11-20T15:59:14+00:00November 20th, 2020|Current Events, Process Safety|1 Comment

Why People Are Unsafe: What Can You Do About It?

“Intervention only works when the people concerned seem to be keen for peace.”  — Nelson Mandela Why are people unsafe? Why do they engage in unsafe behaviors, especially in an industry as hazardous as the chemical industry? Most of us are confident we know why. When asked, most people – over 80% – attribute the [...]

By |2020-11-12T14:45:40+00:00November 12th, 2020|Workplace Safety|1 Comment

How Likely? Your Guess is As Good As…

“For what it's worth, a good streak doesn't jinx you, and a bad one, unfortunately, does not mean better luck is in store.”  — Leonard Mlodinow When someone tells you that they took a calculated risk, they almost certainly are not speaking the truth, to you or to themselves. That’s because there were almost certainly [...]

By |2020-11-05T14:30:31+00:00November 5th, 2020|Process Safety, Risk Assessment|1 Comment

Training: How Refreshing

“It is so refreshing to have somebody approach education rationally.”  — Adam Cooper There probably isn’t anything as refreshing as a shower. Especially after hot, dirty work. Not even refreshments are as refreshing. Yet, the English language is so twisted that we call the repetition of training that we’ve already had “refresher training,” something that [...]

By |2020-10-29T14:39:45+00:00October 29th, 2020|Procedures, Training, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

PHAs and LOPAs: What Would You Recommend?

“I don’t have a particular recommendation other than that we base decisions on as much hard data as possible.”  — Dorothy E. Denning The best waiters are the ones who are willing to make recommendations when you ask.  Anything but, “Well, everything is good.” Because, admit it, everything is not. And then, when you try [...]

By |2020-09-17T13:49:36+00:00September 17th, 2020|PHA, Process Safety Management, Recommendations|0 Comments

Previous Incidents: Learning from Mistakes

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”  — Henry Ford I know a young woman whose relationships are in a constant state of turmoil. She keeps picking the wrong guys and each relationship ends in heartbreak. “Why do I keep making the same mistake over and over?” Why indeed? I [...]

Choosing Safety: Is That How We Roll?

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”  — Maya Angelou Many St. Louis drivers view stop signs as suggestions; they don’t see a full stop is either required or expected. And this isn’t just young hooligans in muscle cars. It includes little old ladies in [...]

By |2020-07-23T14:39:39+00:00July 23rd, 2020|Process Safety, Process Safety Management|0 Comments

PPE: It’s Not Personal

“The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”  — John B. Finch I have mixed feelings about motorcycle helmets and mandatory helmet laws. As a safety professional, I know that they reduce the likelihood of head injuries and want to see motorcyclists wearing them. As a student of psychology and [...]

By |2020-06-11T18:58:31+00:00June 11th, 2020|Current Events, Procedures, Workplace Safety|1 Comment

Silence is Not Golden: Intervening and Reporting Unsafe Behavior

“The power of one man or one woman doing the right thing for the right reason, at the right time, is the greatest influence in our society.”  — Jack Kemp What would you do if you witnessed an unsafe or prohibited act? Would you intervene or report it to someone who could intervene? Ethical obligations [...]

By |2020-06-04T14:04:00+00:00June 4th, 2020|Workplace Safety|0 Comments
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