Safety Moments

Safety Moment #27: Audits and Assessments

Assessment Baseline

We plan on introducing a system for Assessing the quality of a process safety programs. This means that it is important to distinguish between Audits and Assessments. Doing so helps us create process safety "wisdom", as discussed in Safety Moment #24: Where Then Shall (Process Safety) Wisdom Be Found?

We offer an ebook to do with the Audit/Assessment distinction.…

Safety Moment #26: Once upon a time . . .

Trevor Kletz

This Safety Moment is our third in the series to do with the topic of process safety “wisdom”. The background to the series is provided in Safety Moment #24: Where Then Shall (Process Safety) Wisdom Be Found?

Pulling People In

One of the founders of the discipline of process safety was Trevor Kletz. He understood that human beings…

Safety Moment #25: There’s No Substitute for Knowing What You’re Doing

Bumper Sticker

Last week we started a new series of safety moments to do with process safety “wisdom”. The first in the series was Safety Moment #24: Where Then Shall (Process Safety) Wisdom Be Found? 

We showed the following Venn Diagram and suggested that process safety wisdom has three sources, each of which is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a successful…

Safety Moment #24: Where Then Shall (Process Safety) Wisdom Be Found?

Last week we quoted the Yale professor, Harold Bloom in the post Clear Your Mind of Cant. This week we cite him again,

Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?

Or, in our case,

Where shall process safety wisdom be found? 

Another modern sage, Warren Buffet, once said,

Safety Moment #23: Clear Your Mind of Cant

Harold Bloom

For the last few weeks our Safety Moments have been on themes of Incident Investigation and Analysis. Topics have included:

Happy Trails It’s Turtles All The Way Down Root Cause Analysis Incident Investigation: Words, Words, Words

Let’s run one more post on this topic before we switch to another theme.

I would like to start by considering the difficult word…

Safety Moment #22: The Dangers of Safety

On February 4th an Amtrak train in South Carolina crashed into a parked freight train. The investigation has only just started so any conclusions that we draw from this event, in which two people died and many others were injured, must be tentative and subject to revision.

However, it is known that the Amtrak passenger train, which was traveling at around 60 mph, was wrongly…

Safety Moment #21: Happy Trails

The last three Safety Moments have looked at various aspects of Root Cause Analysis. In Incident Investigation: Words, Words, Words we stressed the importance of defining and using words such as ‘incident’, ‘accident’ and ‘root cause analysis’ precisely. This was followed by Root Cause Analysis which showed that there is no single root cause. Instead people will develop a root cause trail…

Safety Moment #20: It’s Turtles All The Way Down

Credit Wikipedia

Our last two safety moments have discussed some aspects of root cause analysis. The first, Incident Investigation: Words, Words, Words, showed how words mean different things to different people. Hence we will never agree upon a true “root cause”. The second, Root Cause Analysis, developed this theme and suggested that Incident Investigation teams should be…

Safety Moment #19: Root Cause Analysis

Oscar Wilde

Last week’s Safety Moment — Incident Investigation: Words, Words, Words prompted a discussion to do with the vexed topic of root cause analysis. While we all agree that it is vital to determine the underlying reasons for the occurrence of incidents the catch is that there is no agreed upon definition for the term “root cause”.

An 800 person forum comprised of…

Safety Moment #18: Incident Investigation: Words, Words, Words

​The title of this Safety Moment is derived from a scene in Shakespeare’s Hamlet in which the hero disparages the meaning of what is written in the book in his hand.

Yet words do matter. And, in the context of a process safety program, some method is needed of deciding which of the many “events” that take place require a formal incident investigation. A catastrophic incident that…