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[]”), 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...


Don't Push the Envelope

Take a sensible approach to avoid ignition dangers.


Don't Zone Out On Area Classifications

Electrical ratings must start with analysis of chemicals present.


Know Your Rights

Intellectual property agreements can pose significant concerns.


Heat Exchangers -- Keep Out of Hot Water

Some simple steps can ease heat exchanger commissioning.


Stop Loops Driving You Round the Bend

Practical pointers trump educators' edicts for real-world process control.


Do Your Level Best

Level control with dP transmitters appears simple but really isn't.


Weak Oversight Can Doom a Project

Don't timidly accept whatever a contractor proposes.


Keep Confined Space Work Safe

Rigorous attention to detail is essential to minimize risks and enhance response.


Avoid Surprises During Pump Startup

A well-thought-out approach can eliminate potential problems.


Watch Out When Job Hunting

Some simple steps can avoid risks and pitfalls.


Size Pumps Like a Pro

Use a step-by-step process to avoid pitfalls.


Use Ergonomics To Improve Safety

During design always consider ease of construction and use.


Expand Your Plant Not Your Problems

Careful project planning and good communications with vendors can avoid hassles.


Treat Rules of Thumb Right When Measuring

These rules can save time but require a strong dose of skepticism.


Take the Write Steps for Career Advancement

The ability to compose clear and effective documents is an important asset.


Avoid a Bad Turn

Centrifugal pump selection demands attention to details.


Learn Office Politics

Improving your political savvy can help you survive.


Safety Statistics Can Get You into a Scrape

Focusing on minor accidents can foster false perceptions.


Properly Estimate Engineering Hours

Don’t come up short on a project.


Don’t Gamble With LOTO

Develop a common-sense plan for lockout/tagout.