Read The Safety Signs

Nov. 8, 2011
You never can get enough information about ensuring safety.

Years ago I was touring a manufacturing plant to gather information for a story I was writing. The plant had a great safety record and I was there to find out how it achieved this success. The one thing that still sticks out in my mind after all those years is a sign I saw on a piece of equipment: "Caution – This machine has no brain, use your own."

Obviously, that wasn't the factory's only safety initiative. But I bet it did make an operator pause before doing something risky.


Stories on safety are often the ones that get the most attention. Add to that a provocative twist ("Kiss Off Safety System Myths"), and you see that wanting to stay out of harm's way is good reading. Author Angela E. Summers of SIS-TECH Solutions, who's active in key safety groups, is no stranger to writing about safety practices for Chemical Processing. In fact, several of her articles are peppered in among the nearly 800 articles related to "safety" on Her other articles include:

Keep Chemical Operations Safe -- A four-phase risk reduction strategy can play a crucial role.

Achieve Continuous Safety Improvement -- Enhancing safety performance requires diligence and unrelenting effort.

Don't Underestimate Overfilling's Risks -- High level can pose serious hazards but seven simple steps can prevent them.

Another article certainly worth reading is "Make Safety Second Nature," in which Mike Gambrell of Dow Chemical provides insights on how to achieve an effective safety culture.

We've also tackled safety in our online panel discussion series. You can access all on-demand events via this link: Our most recent web event discussed Process Safety, including how to avoid common hazards that are often overlooked.

Another important safety topic covered in an on-demand session is Dust Control and how to mitigate risks of an explosion at your chemical processing facility. In addition, our discussion on Alarm Management is important in the fight to make the workplace safe.

If you don't have time to watch a 60-minute web event, we also have podcasts dedicated to safety. You can access all podcasts via this link: One you'll want to pay attention to is Inherently Safer Design, which aims to eliminate or significantly reduce hazards, rather than managing them with hardware and procedures.

Dealing with safety issues can involve sophisticated techniques for hazard analysis and prescriptive measures for plant design and operation. It also can involve rethinking a process to make it inherently safer. It demands an understanding of tradeoffs and nuances, which makes getting expert advice the safe approach. Dennis Hendershot, principal process safety specialist, Chilworth Technology Inc., serves as the process safety expert.  You can access all experts by following this link:

We strive to bring you as many safety-related resources as possible. We hope you take advantage of them.

Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing's senior digital editor. She's also a fan of witty signs. You can e-mail her photos of your signs at [email protected].

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