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.

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Survey the Sources of Electrical Risks

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06/14/2011

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Work On Workarounds

Treat them as problems that can compromise plant safety.

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Silence Kills

Foster an atmosphere where workers speak up about concerns.

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Don't Devalue Isometrics

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10/19/2011

Savor Construction Sites

But make sure the excitement remains enjoyable.

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Make Your Drawings Match Your Process

Outdated P&IDs can lead to tragedy

12/21/2011

Watch Out for Cross-Contamination

Commissioning can pose risks unless you plan carefully.

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Properly Tackle Fluid Flow Problems

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Look at the Big Picture

Ensure that dealing with a safety problem doesn't cause a second risk.

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Don't Add Pressure to Relief Valve Surveys

Consider the time and cost necessary to do a proper analysis.

04/18/2012

Test the Mettle of FRP Tanks

Commissioning and operating such vessels demands special care.

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Fight Over-Confidence

Most people aren’t as good as they think at their jobs.

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