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Blog 65 Process Safety: Strength through Satisfaction

  Thursday, January 30, 2020

WSIL TV News recently reported on an unusual road safety initiative. A 16-year-old local girl, Lacy Hood, had been driving in 2015, barely a month after she passed her driving test. She was distracted as she looked down at her phone to send a text and failed to avoid a collision in which she was killed. Her distraught father, Jim Hood, bought Lacy’s truck back from the insurance company to use it as a message to new drivers. More than 4 years later, 1,500 students saw the wrecked truck as part of a traffic safety program in Lacy’s hometown of Marion, Ohio in the US. State Trooper Greg Miller was reported as saying that he ‘hoped .....Read More

Blog 64 - For the want of a nail

  Friday, December 27, 2019

For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the knight was lost, for want of a knight the battle was lost, for want of a battle the kingdom was lost. So a kingdom was lost—all for want of a nail.   For a 2019 rewriting of the classic aphorism you could replace ‘nail’ with ‘sensor’ and ‘kingdom’ with ‘Boeing’. On July 20, 2011, American Airlines announced an order for 460 jets including 130 of the recently launched 130 A320neos (new engine option), breaking a monopoly Boeing had enjoyed with the Airline. This appears to have prompted Boeing to s.....Read More

Blog 62 Elderly Abuse Victim Named

  Sunday, August 25, 2019

Born in the 1960s, recognised in the 1970s, championed for the rest of the century; then the landscape changed, and the abuse started. ICI, a major UK based chemicals manufacturer, which was a significant industrial force in the latter half of the 20th century, started, in the 1950s, to build and operate facilities which were larger and contained more hazards. Accordingly, when losses of that containment occurred, they did so with increasing impact. Indeed, the fatal accident frequency among workers doubled in the 8 years from 1960. Something had to be done. And it was. And it was called HAZOP. It worked. Within 12 years, the ICI Fatal Accident Rate had been r.....Read More

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


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