In the process industries, poor safety performance has significant business implications. Plants need a comprehensive approach to the safety lifecycle addressing key requirements ranging from HAZOP studies, to operations and maintenance, and finally revalidation with the plant’s historian and maintenance data.
For operations like oil and gas that involve hazardous processes, change management can be a matter of life and death. Operational failures resulting from insufficiently planned changes can result in catastrophic events.
OSHA has cited both a contractor and the operator of a natural gas processing plant in Houston, Pennsylvania, following a fire that killed one worker and left three others badly burned.
The agency cited Energy Transportation LLC, the company contracted to clean lines and vessels at the plant, for violations of the process safety management (PSM) standard, and for exposing employees to flammable vapor and liquid while they off-loaded waste material from a vessel into a mobile tank.
While regulations on the federal level are being repealed or delayed, the rulemaking process is still going strong at the state level – as demonstrated by California’s approval last week of a tough new oil refinery safety regulation.
Process safety management (PSM) failures were behind the 2015 explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, California – an event that raised gas prices in California and cost drivers in the state an estimated $2.4 billion.
There are many metaphors that are commonly used in Washington DC. One of those metaphors is to describe something at “the third rail of politics.” Wikipedia defines “third rail of politics” as “a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is “charged” and “untouchable” to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically.”
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a safety video of its investigation of the June 13, 2013 explosion and fire at the Williams Olefins Plant in Geismar, Louisiana, which killed two workers and injured an additional 167. The deadly explosion and fire occurred when a heat exchanger containing flammable liquid propane violently ruptured.
Hazardous chemicals known to cause severe burns, respiratory and reproductive health issues leaked out of a tanker truck in May 2014, which exposed workers at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Chamber Works in Deepwater, to health risks. A complaint filed with OSHA prompted an inspection of the company under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Chemical Process Safety.