Posts tagged 'Safety'

Following Your Own Rules

Usually, I prefer to commute by bike. On days that the boys are in nursery, I will cycle for about half an hour after work to get to the nursery, then cycle for another half hour home towing a trailer carrying the kids.

Usually I don't mind the weather ...

Disastrous Dinners: Imperial Sugar

The following is roughly what I intended to say during last nights Disastrous Dinners talk.

I didn't stick too strictly to the script, but you get the idea. There was a good discussion after the talk with extra questions.

If you want to attend the next talk in September ...

Another Talk Down

I am just in from presenting my second disastrous dinner. Here are my initial thoughts:

  • It doesn't seem to matter how many presentations I give, I always get ridiculously nervous before the event.
  • I always forget how nervous I get when I am organising before hand and only remember ...

Sugar Manufacturing is Dangerous Stuff

I have just had the realisation tonight that my Disastrous Dinners series of events have, so far, been fairly sugar industry focused.

The very first talk was on the Boston Molasses Flood - Molasses being a byproduct of the sugar industry.

I then had 3 presentations that did not involve the ...

Why Guard?

In the UK, most equipment is guarded. Moving parts that could crush or amputate are covered up. Hot surfaces get lagged or caging applied to avoid burns. Why do we bother?

Because the government forces us?

Well yes, we do have legislation in the uk1 that require organisations to ...

Attributing to Mallace

Apparently there was a hit and run right at the end of our road earlier this evening. I didn’t hear or see anything. The only reason I know anything about it is that there is a discussion about it on the local facebook group1. The general consensus is ...

Fatigue vs Handovers

One of the discussions that happened after the previous Disastrous Dinners talk covered operator fatigue, particularly when performing monotonous activities that still require a great deal of focus.

The conversation started with a discussion about how much distraction you allow in a control room. Do you ban all Personal phones ...

Disastrous Dinners: The Smiler Accident

Last night David Sparks gave a great presentation on the Smiler Rollercoaster accident that happened at Alton Towers in 2015. This was the latest in my disastrous dinners series of events that aim to provide a talk about process safety in a social environment that everyone should be able to ...

Re-examining Exams

I was listening to a discussion about a study titled “Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives?”. Most of the other coverage of the study has been around which groups of people were shown to be either more or less truthful while merely describing the ...

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 ...

How is IChemE Involved with Process Safety

IChemE have just published a blog post How do we achieve, maintain and demonstrate competencies for process safety?.

IChemE and its members are intrinsically involved in sharing lessons through various streams of work; the IChemE Safety Centre, the Safety and Loss Prevention Special Interest Group, and producing journals and publications ...

Disastrous Dinners: How a nuclear power plant interfered with food and drinks supplies

Last Wednesday, Iain Clenahan gave a presentation on an incident that happened in February 1997. This post is my attempt at summarising the talk.


Hunterston B is an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) nuclear power plant commissioned in the late 1970s. To cool the reactors, carbon dioxide (CO2) is circulated ...

Believing Instruments

This month’s process safety beacon is on trusting instruments. Or to be more accurate, what can happen when you don’t believe an instrument and it turns out that the instrument was correct. It has prompted me to write about an incident I experienced last year. Luckily in our ...

Paperwork is Pointless...

Paperwork is pointless if you don't do the rest of the work.

This is a general rule that applies in most cases, but what got my thinking about it today was in relation to safety paperwork such as risk assessments and method statements. Earlier this week, a company was ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 5

So it turns out there is a bit more I want to say about the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions.

In yesterday’s post, I was rather critical of the immediate recommendations that were produced by the investigators. They seemed to be very focused on the human error side of things ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 4

In my final post on the Merrimack Valley Explosions1 , I want to cover the recommendations that were issued in the Safety Recommendation Report. The report makes five urgent recommendations, one to the state of Massachusetts and four to NiSource, Inc., the parent company of the operating company in charge ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 3

In today's post about the Merrimack Valley Explosions, I want to discuss the mitigating factors and layers of protection, or rather apparent lack of then in this case. Again I will clearly state, I don't have all the facts and am not in anyway involved. I only have ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 2

I mentioned in yesterday's post about a series of gas explosions that occured while I was visiting family in the USA last year. In this post I will cover how this event that 'looked like armageddon' according to a fire chief.

As with most utilities, the gas network consists ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 1

While I was in America last year, I saw news reports of an accident in Massachusetts where a local residential gas network was overpressured. This lead to lots of explosions and fires over three different towns. The local emergency services received over a hundred 911 emergency calls within a short ...

Disastrous Dinners: King's Cross Fire

The following is an aproximate transcript of my talk that I delivered this evening.

The main reference for the talk was the official report by Desmond Fennel OBE QC


Good evening and welcome to the second Disastrous Dinners. My name is Alistair Marshall and I am the organiser of this ...

The Name: Disastrous Dinners

Someone has been in contact with me regarding the name of my series of talks: Disastrous Dinners. They have suggested that it may be insensitive and asked if another name might be more suitable. I understand the concern and I had discussed it with a few fellow iChemE members prior ...

Just Another Opinion

We are in the process of designing and building a new control room at the refinery. This will replace the building built in the 70s and the control system that has an user interface that doesn't look particularly different from the photographs of when it opened.

This is obviously ...

Disastrous Dinners Preparation

I am spending some time this evening preparing for the first Disastrous Dinners talk that will be given tomorrow night. I believe that about 10 to 15 people have signed up. Not a massive number of people but hopefully a good number to encourage discussion and socialising after the talk ...

Disastrous Dinners: First Event NEXT WEEK

Firstly, apologies for the last minute planning here. The first Disastrous Dinners Event will be on the 15th of January (a week on Tuesday). The reason for trying to get it organised in such a short period of time is to consider with the 100 year anniversary of the event ...

Safety Behaviours

At work we were introduced to an initiative that will be rolled out fully in the new year: safety behaviours.

The introduction went along the lines of: you all know how to behave in a church, and how to behave in a pub. These behaviours will be different and we ...

The Purpose of a Procedure

I frequently see people make a comment regarding procedures along the lines of "monkey see, monkey do", "they take the thought out of the job" or "they treat us like idiots".

I want to take this opportunity to say that is not how I see or use procedures. If you ...

Disastrous Dinners Survey Responses

Summary

Since the survey has been shared with IChemE members, there have been a over 70 responses, the vast majority of which have been very supportive. There seems to be a great deal of interest for such an event, mixing both a technical aspect and social setting. It was also ...

Disastrous Dinners Responses

The Disastrous Dinners Survey was emailed to IChemE members in Scotland today and the response has been good.

Members of the IChemE committee got access to the survey last Tuesday, the survey was posted to Facebook and LinkedIn yesterday and I got the email from IChemE at lunchtime today.

So ...

Disastrous Dinners Survey

I presented the suggestion to members of the IChemE committee tonight and the feeling was positive. The next stage is to publicise the survey:

Disastrous Dinners: Part social event, part technical talk and part workshop. Something for everyone!

We are looking to host a series of these events next year ...

Ways to Make a Bang

It seems almost fitting that on the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes night, that I would spend the day working out different ways to blow stuff up.

Today was the first day performing a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) of the plant I used to look after as an operations engineer ...

Disastrous Dinners

I have just come up with an idea this evening for a regular IChemE event. I will take the time in this post to get my idea into the screen before deciding if it is a good idea or not.

Background

There are a few challenges that occur when trying ...

Painting and Disasters

Today has been a day of DIY, mostly painting in the downstairs toilet. This was a good opportunity to catch up on podcasts and I spent most of the time catching up with the DisasterCast back catalogue.

I don't have much to add except that I found it an ...

Safety and Security

I am still working my way through the DisasterCast back catalogue. During the episode on security and safety.

Part of the discussion described the difference between safety and security as:

Safety protects the environment from the system.

Security protects the system from the environment.

I am not convinced that it ...

Preflight Briefings

I am still working my way through the back catalogue of DisasterCast and today got to one on the preflight briefing.

It was the next on my list when I was on the plane back home but I was too tired to listen to it that night. I am not ...

Bumps in the Road

While driving around some of the back roads of Connecticut I noticed that in some places they have installed a rumble strip in the centre of the road when there are double white lines signaling that no overtaking should take place.

A Quick Response

It is nice to know that when a safety concern is raised, it gets acted on quickly.

As part of the building works being carried out in our office, one corridor was blocked off with a wooden wall. As I was about to leave last night, I noted that two ...

Thanks to.. DisasterCast

I recently found out about a podcast that was started back in January 2013 called DisasterCast.

A podcast about scary things and how to stop them happening.

It is presented by Drew Rae who I recognised from his contributions to The Pod Delusion a podcast I was listening to ...

Typeup of Proof Testing Webinar

Yesterday I viewed a webinar on proof testing1 organised by IChemE.

The presentation was a good overview and went at a decent pace for following along but was too fast for me to take any decent notes.

Below is a quick writeup of what I took from the session ...

Vanessa Sutherland - Trevor Kletz Memorial Lecture

Vanessa Sutherland was1 the Chair of the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and delivered the fourth Trevor Kletz Memorial Lecture2 at the IChemE hazards conference.

I did not attend the lecture in person however the IChemE have put a video of the presentation online3.

Screenshot of video
Vanessa Sutherland: CSB ...

Thoughts on Today's Fire

I decided not to post this on the day of the incident but wait till more was known. There have been too many occasions where comments made in the immediate aftermath of an incident are ultimately unhelpful. A week has passed now and I feel that my comments are still ...

The Keil Centre - Presentation

Yesterday I attended a presentation at the Keil Centre delivered by Janette Edmonds on 'Predictive Assessment of Human Reliability'.

Focus of the presentation was on prediction and looking forward to what could happen, rather than the traditional view of retrospectively looking into times something has gone wrong.

Human Reliability

While ...

An Extra Benefit of Self Driving Cars

I have recently been thinking on the improvements to safety when self driving cars become popular and well used. People generally accept that (given time) these cars are going to be safer than human driven cars because they won't get distracted. The worry is that you won't see ...

Implementing Safety

My work place held a safety stand-down in response to the higher number of injuries (mostly slips, trips & falls) seen this year.

The manager who delivered the presentation put it to us that it was down to behavioural safety and that people are not taking as much care as they ...

Cycling in to Waverley Station

I have been on holiday for the last week and have made a number of trips into Edinburgh during the week and have taken a bike with me to help get around the city.

In the distant past, to get a bike in or out of Waverly, you would simply ...

A Health and Safety Perspective of Cycling Safety

I took the NEBOSH National General Certificate a few years back. The course was a comprehensive overview of health and safety in a work environment.

One of the mnemonics provided by my lecturer for the course was “Eric, P.D.”, as a way to remember the Hierarchy of Control. The ...

Self and Hasty

I am not normally the most health and safety conscious person however I am uncomfortable with the layout of the classroom I am currently in. All the chairs and desks are over to the one side of the room and there is a huge amount of space at the far ...