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

Black Sky: A Bad Week for Polyethylene

“It’s everything you do and nothing that you did.”  — Steve Cash Poly-America is having a bad week. Last Wednesday, August 19, at around 1 am, a massive fire started at the Poly-America plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, outside of Dallas.  Local news reports on that Wednesday stated that the black plume from the fire [...]

By |2020-08-27T18:13:19+00:00August 27th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|0 Comments

Insanity: Another Ammonium Nitrate Explosion

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — First said by an anonymous member of Al-Anon in Knoxville, Tennessee I have a dream. In my dream, following a terrible chemical disaster that mimics other terrible chemical disasters, officials don’t wring their hands and talk about how their thoughts [...]

By |2020-08-13T19:40:57+00:00August 13th, 2020|Chemicals, Current Events|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

Workplace Safety: As Good As It Gets?

“What if this is as good as it gets?”  — Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets, directed by James L. Brooks The year 2009 was first time I ever studied a graph of work-related fatality rates in the U.S. The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was available for [...]

By |2020-07-09T16:27:25+00:00July 9th, 2020|Current Events, Workplace Safety|1 Comment

In the Midst of a Pandemic: Fourth of July Safety

“Fourth of July is not cancelled this year…it will just look a little different.”  — Megan Willgoos I love fireworks displays. Especially those with big finales. As a safety professional, a homeowner, and a dog lover, though, I hate recreational fireworks. People suffer life-altering injuries, homes and other buildings are set afire, and man’s best [...]

By |2020-07-02T13:11:51+00:00July 2nd, 2020|Current Events|0 Comments

Breaking the Law: Conservation of Recklessness

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”  — Geena Davis as Veronica Quaife in The Fly, directed by David Cronenburg Try as we might, we safety professionals cannot make people want to be safe. The challenge then, is to make them safer than they want to be. The Law of Conservation of Recklessness There is not officially [...]

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