The Deepwater Horizon/Macondo catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in the year 2010 demonstrated the need for new safety management regulations. The draft regulations went through various iterations, and the name of the responsible government agency changed twice. In the end, the SEMS (Safety and Environmental Management System) regulation became a requirement for offshore oil and gas operations in the United States.
A process safety expert and his wife went on a cruise. Part of the cruise included a tour of the ship’s impressive galley and food-serving facilities. The tour was led by one of the ship’s sous chefs.
The process safety expert realized that he was looking at a small chemical plant. In front of him were processes that involved chemical reactions, heat exchange and moderately high pressures. So he naturally started to ask the sous chef HAZOP-style questions on the following lines.
Q: Do you use natural gas for cooking?
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.
There has been much discussion in recent years as to how to develop new and improved cultures within the process industries. There appears to be an implicit assumption in these discussions that ours is the first generation to wrestle with the problem of creating a new culture. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, it can be instructive to examine how previous generations affected cultural change with respect to industrial safety and environmental performance, and to consider how their techniques and approaches may apply to our times.