Perspectives: Field Notes

Learn from a Safety Guru

Take advantage of the insights in the books of a renowned expert

By Dirk Willard, Contributing Editor

The first anniversary of the passing of Trevor Kletz, who died on October 31, 2013, provides a good opportunity to re-emphasize how much we still can learn from him. Frequently called the father of process safety (see: "Trevor Kletz Bequeaths Better Process Safety[http://goo.gl/vTQZFf]”), he wrote many books on the topic; some sit on a shelf in my study. Kletz directed some of his attention to the managerial malaise that explains why past accidents recur. One of my favorite quotes seems to strike at the heart of the problem: “If you think safety is expensive, try an accident.” So, let’s explore some of his comments on process safety. Pardon my paraphrasing.

Read more

More from this perspective...

Title

Don’t get zapped by spark testing

Understand the intricacies of checking for defects in a liner, advises Dirk Willard, contributing editor, in this month's Field Notes column.

08/28/2007

Learning foreign languages can make your job easier

Don’t build walls, by ignoring foreign languages, says Contributing Editor Dirk Willard, in this month's Field Notes column. Learning foreign languages can make your job easier.

10/04/2007

Make the most of newly hired, experienced engineers

Contributing Editor Dirk Willard reminds readers that an old dogs can learn new tricks and plants should keep this in mind when hiring new, yet experienced, engineers.

10/29/2007

Build reliability in during design

Instrumentation that promises to improve reliability may not always be what they seem. You have to consider whether a site can properly maintain sophisticated instruments.

12/19/2007

It really isn’t your problem

A manager shouldn’t try to be a Mr. Fix-it.

02/05/2008

Stick to the basics

Getting immersed in details can doom a basic design contract to financial failure.

02/13/2008

Take a studied approach to plant studies

Carefully address the challenges of managing and directing specialized teams

03/13/2008

An Alert Operator Is a Safe Operator

Maintaining a good work environment can contribute to a safer plant

04/24/2008

Keep plant layout from laying you low

Spot mistakes before they literally become set in stone on the site

05/02/2008

A haphazard approach can hobble hazard reviews

Taking some simple steps can help you avoid common pitfalls in assessing changes

06/02/2008

Maintain an open mind about maintenance options

Sometimes it’s better to take a preventive rather than predictive approach

06/17/2008

Keeping Peace While Managing Unions

Dealing with unions often poses challenges to engineers

08/07/2008

Get Pipe Specifications Right in the Beginning!

Good pipe specifications can avoid costly and dangerous mistakes

08/08/2008

Solve the real problem

Sometimes solving a problem causes more harm than good

08/27/2008

Correctly Manage Change

How you begin is at least as important as your eventual goal

10/10/2008

Make the Most of Contractors

Using hired help effectively starts by treating them as part of your team.

10/15/2008

Deftly Deal with Management of Change

Consider some proven tactics to survive this grueling process.

11/20/2008

Finding The True Cost of Data-Collecting Equipment -- Can You Really Afford It?

Consider all costs before you opt to install an instrument.

12/15/2008

Choose Your Next Position Wisely

Finding your dream job takes a bit of soul searching and answering some tough questions.

01/20/2009

Brain Drain Brings Big Headaches

Inexperience and a tough production schedule can be a lethal combination

02/15/2009