Voices: Field Notes

Take Safety Personally

Treat mistakes and shutdowns as important learning experiences

By Dirk Willard, Contributing Editor
Nov 7, 2018

Near-misses occur at most plants. I’ve encountered an overpressure incident with a system operating about 100 psi above its code stamp; luckily, a heat exchanger gasket blew, relieving the pressure before anything more severe happened. Then, there was the BLEVE [boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion] that I averted during a startup: toluene filled the air around a vacuum tower I was inspecting; I had the presence of mind to glide down two flights of stairs before radioing in the situation.

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