Blog 60 A Process Safety Fable

  Friday, June 28, 2019

Once upon a time there was a Swiss boy who loved the mountains. Every spare minute he had after school, on weekends and, especially, during his long summer holidays, he would lace up his hiking boots and stride out of the back door of his house. He would scramble up scree, race over rocks, bound round boulders. He especially enjoyed digging out his climbing equipment and scaling the small vertical cliff behind the orchard and sitting atop looking towards the sunset. The boy, Peter, had a best friend: Antoine. They were inseparable. Antoine loved the mountains as much as Peter and joined in his every adventure. They bonded, in part, because of their distinct cha.....Read More

Blog 59 Making a Good First Process Safety Impression

  Saturday, June 22, 2019

A first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. This happens rapidly because our ancestors sometimes had to make split second decisions as to whether a stranger was a friend or foe. As this instinct evolved before the development of sophisticated language, non-verbal behaviours are particularly important in this regard: smiling, eyebrow position, emotional expression, and eye contact are key. Furthermore, posture, leaning in and giving a firm handshake are beneficial. This impression is seared into our brains so that it can be referenced when required. A second and subsequent encounters te.....Read More

Blog 57 Process Safety Regulation. “Speak Softly but….

  Monday, April 15, 2019

….carry a big stick, you will go far.” So wrote Theodore Roosevelt, then Governor of New York, after forcing New York's Republican committee to pull support away from a corrupt financial adviser. It denotes the power to leverage demonstrable strength in support of measured negotiations. In the context of UK located hazardous process industries, the Health and Safety Executive currently wields that stick. It was born from a 1974 act of parliament, where one of the key tenets was ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his/her employees’. With a .....Read More

Blog 56 Would You Rather Process Safety or Not?

  Saturday, March 30, 2019

Would you rather… …always be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early? …lose all your money or all the pictures you have ever taken? …your shirts be always two sizes too big or one size too small? …find true love or a suitcase with $5m inside? You get the drift. It’s a classic example of Daniel Kahneman’s Type 1 thinking – intuitive. You process the alternatives, and generally choose the one which feels better (or less bad). It can be a fun way for two or more friends to pass some time. The ones I find most interesting (but troubling) are those where the outcomes are negative, but with divergent emphasis: &h.....Read More

Blog 54 Improving Process Safety Culture, one nudge at a time

  Friday, March 8, 2019

  I don’t like being told that what I am doing is wrong. Even if I recognise what I am doing is wrong. In fact, especially if I recognise what I’m doing is wrong. I imagine you are probably the same. Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that we correlate this assertion with an implication that we should, in some way, change our behaviour. And that can make us feel very uncomfortable. ‘People have a strong tendency to go along with the status quo or default option’, say Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book Nudge, where they cite research which shows that ‘whatever the default choices are, many people stick wit.....Read More

Blog 53 How to get more out of your Comfort Zone

  Thursday, January 17, 2019

According to Alan Henry’s 2013 Life Hacker article, one’s comfort zone is a personal psychological space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. It is not a bad thing, per se. In fact, you benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress. In fact, it’s where we spend most of our time. As a concept, the comfort zone goes back over a century to 1908 when Robert Yerkes and John Dodson posited that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. For the same reasons, we also prefer to inhabit our Process Safe.....Read More

The Risks of Taking (or not Taking) the Road Less Travelled

  Monday, December 10, 2018

Robert Lee Frost was an American poet who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries. Known for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech, Frost frequently wrote about settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. In this vein, one of his most celebrated poems, The Road Not Taken, written in 1915, includes in it’s last verse the lines: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference. Breaking news - the cost of taking the road less travelled has tumbled! No this isn.....Read More