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Paying for Process Safety

After last night’s post, I received a comment via linkedin, pointing out that it takes a fair bit of money to produce quality content and it needs to get paid for some how. If companies are not willing to put the money in, then the only alternative is to get individuals to pay for it.

I agree with this, I do want to see quality content produced and agree that it needs to be paid for. I centinally agree that things like in-person courses and conferences need to be paid for. You clearly need to pay for venues and the presenters need to have their time paid for. It was the resources that the marginal cost of distributing them is negligible that were bothering me. Things like charging £250 per case study CD, costing £1750 for the full set. For something that would cost next to nothing to distribute. Similarly with the Loss prevention bulletin.

Perhaps I have gotten too used to things being online for free. Wikipedia, the american CSB and even our own HSE in the UK, have all hosted really useful information that is available on their websites for free. Wikipedia is created by volunteers (with small donations to keep the servers running), the CSB and HSE are both paid for by taxes. So where should the money come from to pay for the creation of these resources?

What wound me up last night was that IChemE are singing their praises, when ordinary members can’t access these resources. We already contribute a fair bit of money each year to IChemE in the form of subs, only to be told that to learn anything I need to pay (a lot) more. I can’t help but think that if the cost was lower more folk would make use of them. What is the ratio of members that are able and willing to pay the hundreds of pounds for these CDs, to those that don’t get them? If the cost per IChemE member was in the £10 range, I am sure it could get swallowed by the subscription fee without getting noticed. Or if they charged a much lower price in the £10 range, then I would have probably bought them myself.

I am curious how many people that don’t have the words ‘process safety’ explicitly written in their job titles end up purchasing any of the resources they mentioned in their blog. I don’t like the idea that such resources end up getting hoarded within a single discipline.

I feel that these lessons should be spread further to engineers working in other roles.

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  • Euan Munro CEng MIChemE
    said on: 30 Apr 2019 at 09:00

    A bit of a kinder sentiment in the follow-up - one thing for the IChemE to consider would be if the LPB was cheaper, there would be a wider readership. Hopefully, that would give authors a bigger desire to contribute, and a broader range of people to write articles - e.g. people who don't have PS job titles.