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 [...]

Shelter-in-Place: What the Community Should Know

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  — H.K.Williams On July 18, 2019, two people were injured after a chemical fire broke out at Diamond Chemical Company in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  At least one of the chemicals involved in the fire was chlorine, which is poisonous, especially as a gas.  When it [...]

By | 2019-09-05T13:36:34+00:00 September 5th, 2019|Chemicals, Process Safety|0 Comments

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

H21: Is Hydrogen a Safe Fuel?

“The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” - Harlan Ellison I first learned about H21, the project to convert the fuel gas distribution system in the North of England from natural gas to hydrogen, at a safety conference where I gave a talk on containing hydrogen deflagrations within pressure vessels. [...]

By | 2019-08-08T14:23:25+00:00 August 8th, 2019|Chemicals, Gas|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

Emotional Stress and Its Effect on Safety

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”  — Dale Carnegie Perfect lives don’t exist.  We’ve all experienced loss, misfortune or pain.  No one is a stranger to emotional stress.  And emotional stress affects work performance, particularly safety.  A study conducted by the U.K. Royal [...]

By | 2019-07-25T13:10:13+00:00 July 25th, 2019|Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Putting Safety First on the 4th

“As far as fireworks, it's very dangerous. You shouldn't play with them.” – Jason Pierre-Paul An American Tradition In the United States, the 4th of July holds a special place among our many holidays. The mere mention of the date evokes images of American flags, backyard cookouts, blistering heat, and overwhelming patriotism. Above all, however, [...]

By | 2019-06-27T14:10:32+00:00 June 27th, 2019|Current Events, Training|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

Taking Safety Home

“Safety is a common denominator across all aspects of life...”  Doug Bourne After working in a manufacturing environment for 2 years, I have developed a great appreciation for a good safety culture. Adhering to solid safety practices and policies, while irritating at times, kept us all going home at the end of the day in [...]

By | 2019-05-30T11:35:19+00:00 May 30th, 2019|Workplace 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 [...]