Safety Moment #52: The Important Few / The Unimportant Many

It is a truism that all organizations have to operate with limited resources. And this truism applies to process safety as much as it does to any other business activity. Management may declare that safety is the top priority and that they will do “whatever it takes” to achieve safety goals. But the reality is that the safety programs can command only so much money and take only such much of the…

Safety Moment #50: Temporary Change

Management of Change (MOC) lies at the heart of a successful process safety management system. If a facility is properly designed and constructed then virtually all incidents are caused by someone, somewhere making a change and inadvertently taking the process outside its safe limits. This means, therefore, that, in order to have full control of a facility managers and process safety experts must…

Safety Moment #47: Hyperloop Generic Safety Study

In Safety Moment #8: “But We’re Different, You Know” we show that risk analysis techniques have much in common across different parts of the process and energy industries. Lessons can be shared across industries such as oil refining, chemicals manufacture, pipeline operations and offshore oil and gas production. But, given that the first word in the phrase Process Safety Management (PSM) is…

Safety Moment #37: The Risk Management Professional

The picture at the top of this page is of Admiral Rickover (1900-1986), often referred to as father of the nuclear navy. The ships he controlled were powered by nuclear reactors and were often armed with nuclear missiles. He knew that the first accident with a nuclear ship would also be the last accident - there would be no tolerance for mistakes or accidents of any kind. The stringent standards…

Safety Moment #36: Common Process Hazards — Utilities

This Safety Moment is part of the series to do with hazards that are commonly found at many energy and process facilities. This Safety Moment notes that many hazards are created within a facility’s utility systems. This is often because a failure in the utility system can create multiple problems simultaneously at many different locations. Utility failures are an example of a common cause effect…

Safety Moment #15: Key HAZOP Guidewords

One of the philosophies behind Process Safety Management (PSM) is that each chemical process is unique. Therefore it is not possible to have a prescriptive standard that tells operating companies what to do. Instead, companies have to identify the unique hazards associated with their facility, and then implement corrective actions based on a risk-ranking methodology. For this reason, facilities…

Safety Moment #12: The (Process Safety) Two Second Rule

The Two Second Rule is used in driver training. The rule is that a driver should ideally stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of his or her vehicle. The rule suggests that most people require at least two seconds before they respond to a problem. The same idea can be applied to emergency response to process safety situations. .It gives a person sufficient time to…

Safety Moment #8: “But We’re Different, You Know”

During the course of my career I have had the opportunity and privilege of working in many different sections of the energy and process industries. And wherever I have worked the refrain has always been, “But we’re different, you know”. What the speaker is saying is that his or her particular industry is so special that the professionals in it have little to learn from other industries regarding…