Safety Moments

Safety Moments for the Process and Energy Industries

Safety Moments

Safety Moments are short stories or anecdotes that illustrate some aspect of personal or process safety. Generally they feature a near miss or foolish event that had the potential to be much worse than it was. They can be used to start a meeting or a task assignment.

We publish a wide range of Safety Moments at this site. A list of the what is currently available is…

Safety Moment #17: Monday Morning at 8 o’Clock

This is the 17th in our series of Safety Moments. They cover a wide range of topics but the goals for them are generally as follows.

They share practical knowledge and experience. In particular they help transfer experience from the “school of hard knocks” to those who are new to the process industries or who are starting a new type of assignment. They look for root causes so that the…

Safety Moment #16: Drainage Systems

The 2nd edition of the book Plant Design and Operations is at the printers. In it we try to provide practical and relevant information that can be used in both the design and operation of process facilities. One section of the book discusses drainage systems. These systems, like so many other utilities, have the potential to be very hazardous because they connect different parts of an…

Safety Moment #15: Common Process Safety Hazards (Part 3)

Common Process Safety Hazards

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…

Safety Moment #14: Trains, Cars and Root Cause Analysis

I live in a small town (population around 6,000) in central Virginia. The east coast railroad runs through it. Each day we see about 65 freight trains (CSX) and around 15 passenger trains (Amtrak). In recent months we have experienced a startling number of train/vehicle collisions. They are summarized here.

The most recent event (just last week) is shown in this YouTube video. The…

Safety Moment #13: Common Process Safety Hazards (Part 2)

Common Process Safety Hazards

One of the philosophies of 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 hazards associated with their facility, and then implement corrective actions based on a risk-ranking methodology. For…

Safety Moment #12: Process Safety Emergency Response

The Two Second Rule

Process Safety Emergency Response is a key part of any Process Safety Management (PSM) program. No matter how effective preventive measures may be, there is always a chance that something will go badly awry. In which case an emergency response program is needed.

The Two Second Rule is taught in driver's education. The basic idea is simple: stay two seconds behind…

Safety Moment #11: Black Swans and Bow Ties

Black Swans Nicholas Taleb

Published in 2007, Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book The Black Swan achieved almost overnight fame (a circumstance that is, in itself, something of a black swan). He defined a black swan event as having the following attributes.

 


 

 

It is unpredictable; It has a massive impact; and After the fact we develop explanations to make…

Safety Moment #10: Common Process Safety Hazards (Part 1)

Common Process Safety Hazards

Hazards of Utilities. 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…

Safety Moment #9: Another No Contest

The Incident

Safety Moment #3 — No Contest — showed an incident that occurred recently in which a car got stuck on the train tracks and was then hit by a locomotive. In spite of the seriousness of the event there is some good news. The people in the car got out of the vehicle and away from the immediate scene. Therefore, although their car was destroyed, no one was hurt.

About four…