News | News

Blog 82 - In Praise of And

  Tuesday, March 14, 2023

‘And’ or ‘But’? Think of a situation recently where you were in conversation with a peer. Perhaps a work colleague or a casual acquaintance. Your discussion develops into a subject you sense is leading into ‘disagreement’ territory. Your interlocuter makes a statement which you don’t fully agree with, so you want to respond to give your perspective. Take a minute to revisit the scenario then phrase your response thus: ‘I hear what you’re saying but (….)’, filling in the ellipsis with your argument. How does that make you feel? Now do the same thing with a slight tweak. Simply replace the &ls.....Read More

Blog 81 - Threat, Opportunity, Friend?

  Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Meet Talus. You won’t recognise him, but your ancestors may well have. Or at least someone resembling him. And if they did, they would have made a rapid judgement about whether he was a threat, opportunity or benign. A female ancestor may have perceived Talus as a potential mate, whereas a male one as competition for a mate. Instinctively, we, like them, have evolved to weight threats more than opportunities, perhaps because opportunities will recur but if you don’t take a potential threat seriously once, it might be your only time. In the binary world of your genes, they just want to survive. You are reading this today in part because of these ances.....Read More

Blog 80 - How to Become a Process Safety Peacekeeper?

  Monday, August 1, 2022

In the UK, there are currently 55 Cub Scout recognition badges ranging from Astronomer to World Faiths and everything in between. Back in the day, around 50 years ago, I sported my own humble collection, which was probably tarnished by being part of the gang who locked Akela (or Mrs Breckenridge to her friends) in her office as a jape. But I digress. The purpose of these badges is, according to the website, for boys and girls to ‘become an expert in something you love or try something shiny and new’. A practical supplement to Primary School Education. I found it fun, exciting, challenging and rewardi.....Read More

Blog 79 - HAZOP: the future is bright, the future is ....hybrid

  Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The view from the early part of the 21st century is that private fuelled personal transport will move increasingly towards the battery electric format and dramatically away from the conventional hydrocarbon fuel types. There are several reasons for this, a significant one being combatting green-house gas emissions. Indeed, in the 3 years from 2018, new UK registrations of conventional cars has declined from 93 to 54% of the total and at the same time electric has moved from 1 to 12%. The reason these yearly numbers don’t total 100% is that a third category exists and is currently flourishing (up from 6 to 34% of new registrations). This is partly because, .....Read More

Blog 77 - Your New Secret Weapon: the ALARP Anchor

  Thursday, May 26, 2022

Think about your national culture for a moment. I won’t risk exposing my prejudices by giving blasé (and probable trite) examples from other countries but will endeavour for my own. For me, British cultural concepts include Stoicism (the capacity to ‘grin and bear it’ whilst being diligent and respectable, as is exemplified in the slogan “keep calm and carry on”) and a particular type of humour (much British humour and sarcasm may be delivered through subtle or dry understatements). To this grouping I would also add the ALARP concept. ALARP stands for “As Low As Reasonably Practicable“ and is derived from and enc.....Read More

Blog 76 - To those I have loved...and not lost

  Monday, March 14, 2022

I’d be surprised if you and Kurtis Walker knew each other. Kurtis worked as a Warehouse and Logistics Supervisor at a manufacturing site in the UK. But, even if his name doesn’t ring a bell, you may well have helped prevent Kurtis suffering life changing burns injuries or even dying at work. So, thank you. Soon after a new facility at the site had been commissioned, the Security Team noticed what seemed to be liquid spray discharge on one of their CCTV screens - probably a defective fire sprinkler, they thought. As it was the weekend and no production was taking place, they called the Maintenance Manager who got in his car and drove to the site. He .....Read More

Blog 69 – Process Safety ‘Distant Augmented Reality Training’ (DART)? Bullseye!

  Sunday, August 16, 2020

Cast your mind back to your last training session. Having persuaded your boss to approve, what seemed to her, elevated fees, you took the train after work and checked into a budget limited (poky) downtown hotel. Deciding to forgo breakfast (based on your previous experience of weak coffee, burnt toast and surly waitress), you headed with some trepidation to the session registration. Would you know anyone? What should I say in the inevitable ‘tell us something about yourself’ icebreaker? Would there be team exercises (they were fun last time)? You walk up to the threshold and into the atrium. You immediately spotted Jim, Tony and Liz from the office......Read More

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

Contact Us

Process Safety Matters

Tel: +44 1344 455800

Email: [email protected]

Quick Enquiry

 2023 Process Safety Matters. Site by sizzle