Category: Current Events

Should We Continue to Fund the CSB?

April 17th, 2017 by

The Trump Administration has cut funding for several independent agencies in their 2017 budget request. One is the US Chemical Safety Board.

The CSB has produced this video and a report to justify their continued funding.

REPORT LINK

The question taxpayers need to ask and answer is, what are the returns on the investment in the CSB?

The CSB produces investigation reports, videos, and a wish list of improvements.  In 2016 the agency published seven reports and two videos  (it has six investigations that are currently open). That makes it a cost of $1.2 million per report/video produced when you divide their $11 million 2016 budget by their key products.

The 2017 budget request from the CSB was $12,436,000 (a 13% increase from their 2016 budget).

Should the government spend about $12 million per year on this independent agency? Or are these types of improvements better developed by industry, other regulatory agencies (EPA and OSHA), and not-for-profit organizations (like the Center for Chemical Process Safety)?

Leave your comments here (click on the comments link below) to share your ideas. I’d be interested in what you think. Or write your representatives to provide your thoughts.

What’s Wrong with this Data?

March 20th, 2017 by

Below are sentinel event types from 2014 – 2016 as reported to the Joint Commission (taken from the 1/13/2017 report at https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/Summary_4Q_2016.pdf):

Summary Event Data

 Reviewing this data, one might ask … 

What can we learn?

I’m not trying to be critical of the Joint Commissions efforts to collect and report sentinel event data. In fact, it is refreshing to see that some hospitals are willing to admit that there is room for improvement. Plus, the Joint Commission is pushing for greater reporting and improved root cause analysis. But, here are some questions to consider…

  • Does a tic up or down in a particular category mean something? 
  • Why are suicides so high and infections so low? 
  • Why is there no category for misdiagnosis while being treated?

Perhaps the biggest question one might ask is why are their only 824 sentinel events in the database when estimates put the number of sentinel events in the USA at over 100,000 per year.

Of course, not all hospitals are part of the Joint Commission review process but a large fraction are.  

If we are conservative and estimate that there should be 50,000 sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission each year, we can conclude that only 1.6% of the sentinel events are being reported.

That makes me ask some serious questions.

1. Are the other events being hidden? Ignored? Or investigated and not reported?

Perhaps one of the reasons that the healthcare industry is not improving performance at a faster rate is that they are only learning from a tiny fraction of their operating experience. After all, if you only learned from 1.6% of your experience, how long would it take to improve your performance?

2. If a category like “Unitended Retention of a Foreign Body” stays at over 100 incidents per year, why aren’t we learning to prevent these events? Are the root cause analyses inadequate? Are the corrective actions inadequate or not being implemented? Or is there a failure to share best practices to prevent these incidents across the healthcare industry (each facility must learn by one or more of their own errors). If we don’t have 98% of the data, how can we measure if we are getting better or worse? Since our 50,000 number is a gross approximation, is it possible to learn anything at all from this data?

To me, it seems like the FIRST challenge when improving performance is to develop a good measurement system. Each hospital should have HUNDREDS or at least DOZENS of sentinel events to learn from each year. Thus, the Joint Commission should have TENS or HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of sentinel events in their database. 

If the investigation, root cause analysis, and corrective actions were effective and being shared, there should be great progress in eliminating whole classes of sentinel events and this should be apparent in the Joint Commission data. 

This improved performance would be extremely important to the patients that avoided harm and we should see an overall decrease in the cost of medical care as mistakes are reduced.

This isn’t happening.

What can you do to get things started?

1. Push for full reporting of sentinel events AND near-misses at your hospital.

2. Implement advanced root cause analysis to find the real root causes of sentinel events and to develop effective fixes that STOP repeat incidents.

3. Share what your hospital learns about preventing sentinel events across the industry so that others will have the opportunity to improve.

That’s a start. After twelve years of reporting, shouldn’t every hospital get started?

If you are at a healthcare facility that is

  • reporting ALL sentinel events,
  • investigating most of your near-misses, 
  • doing good root cause analysis, 
  • implementing effective corrective actions that 
  • stop repeat sentinel events, 

I’d like to hear from you. We are holding a Summit in 2018 and I would like to document your success story.

If you would like to be at a hospital with a success story, but you need to improve your reporting, root cause analysis and corrective actions, contact us for assistance. We would be glad to help.

The Joint Commission Issues Sentinel Event Alert #57

March 6th, 2017 by

Here’s a link to the announcement:

https://www.jointcommission.org/sea_issue_57/

Here are the 11 tenants they suggest:

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To broaden their thoughts, perhaps they should read about Admiral Rickover’s ideas about his nuclear safety culture. Start at this link:

http://www.taproot.com/archives/54027

And then healthcare executives could also insist on advanced root cause analysis.

Avoid the Danger of New Hires

March 1st, 2017 by

 

Is your safety program ready?

Is your safety program ready?

There is a feeling of cautious optimism in the oil sector, as the price of oil seems to have stabilized above $50/barrel. Rig count in the Permian has more than doubled since last spring. US EIA and JPMorgan are forecasting US production at near record levels of over 9.5 million barrels per day by the end of next year. US exports are up, with China ramping up oil purchases from the US, while OPEC production cuts are holding.

This all sounds good for the US oil sector. It is expected that hiring will start picking up, and in fact Jeff Bush, president of oil and gas recruiting firm CSI Recruiting, has said, “When things come back online, there’s going to be an enormous talent shortage of epic proportions.”

So, once you start hiring, who will you hire? Unfortunately, much of the 170,000 oil workers laid off over the past couple of years are no longer available. That experience gap is going to be keenly felt as you try to bring on new people. In fact, you’re probably going to be hiring many people with little to no experience in safe operation of your systems.

Are you prepared for this? How will you ensure your HSE, Quality, and Equipment Reliability programs are set up to handle this young, eager, inexperienced workforce? What you certainly do NOT want to see are your new hires getting hurt, breaking equipment, or causing environmental releases. Here are some things you should think about:

– Review old incidents and look for recurring mistakes (Causal Factors). Analyze for generic root causes. Conduct a TapRooT® analysis of any recurring issues to help eliminate those root causes.
– Update on-boarding processes to ensure your new hires are receiving the proper training.
– Ensure your HSE staff are prepared to perform more frequent audits and subsequent root cause analysis.
– Ensure your HSE staff are fully trained to investigate problems as they arise.
– Train your supervisors to conduct audits and detailed RCA.
– Conduct human factors audits of your processes. You can use the TapRooT® Root Cause Tree® to help you look for potential issues.
– Take a look at your corrective action program. Are you closing out actions? Are you satisfied with the types of actions that are in there?
– Your HSE team may also be new. Make sure they’ve attended a recent TapRooT® course to make sure they are proficient in using TapRooT®.

Don’t wait until you have these new hires on board before you start thinking about these items. Your team is going to be excited and enthusiastic, trying to do their best to meet your goals. You need to be ready to give them the support and tools they need to be successful for themselves and for your company.

TapRooT® training may be part of your preparation.  You can see a list of upcoming courses HERE.

How can TapRooT® help with your ISO programs (or other management system issues)?

January 25th, 2017 by

Happy Wednesday and welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tips.

Many companies are ISO certified and some of those that are not have some type of management system. There are too many different systems and standards out there to discuss individually, but one of the common themes is continuous improvement.

Whether you use a commonly known management system or developed your own, one of your goals should be to improve your system/business. When I think of a management system, I think of it as a framework for how you manage your business. Whether required or not, incorporating continuous improvement is a smart thing to do.

While ISO has hundreds of standards, some of the most commonly known are 9000 (Quality) and 14000 (Environmental); coming down the pike soon is 45001 (Safety). There are also numerous industry specific standards. Many of the ISO standards use a common framework that includes the PDCA (plan, do, check, act) cycle. This is where TapRooT® can help.

PDCA is a simple process that has been in use widely since the 1950’s. I do not know many processes that have endured that long. So why? Because it is easy and it works.

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As part of PDCA, you have to determine what to fix, how to fix it, and whether it works. Sounds a little like root cause analysis and corrective action, doesn’t it? So if you were going to use PDCA to help solve your problems, what would you use for root cause analysis? If I were you, I would use TapRooT®. Need help with corrective actions? Use the Corrective Action Helper®, SMARTER Matrix, and Safeguards hierarchy. You can incorporate TapRooT® tools into any improvement framework you use.

Also, don’t forget the importance of auditing. This should be part of your management system as well. We’ve taught auditing with TapRooT® for years, but we recently developed a new course specifically for Auditors, TapRooT® for Audits, and wrote a new book, TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis for Audits and Proactive Performance Improvement. The primary topic of the book is auditing, but we also have a short section on PDCA. We’ll be teaching this course in Charlotte, NC in May if you would like to join us. Or, if you are already TapRooT® trained, you can get the book on our store.

Audits Kit

Thanks for reading the blog, and best of luck with your improvement efforts.

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Railroad Bridge Structural Failure

December 12th, 2016 by

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A Report from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch:

Structural failure caused by scour at Lamington viaduct, South Lanarkshire, 31 December 2015

At 08:40 hrs on Thursday 31 December 2015, subsidence of Lamington viaduct resulted in serious deformation of the track as the 05:57 hrs Crewe to Glasgow passenger service passed over at a speed of about 110 mph (177 km/h). The viaduct spans the River Clyde between Lockerbie and Carstairs. Subsequent investigation showed that the viaduct’s central river pier had been partially undermined by scour following high river flow velocity the previous day. The line was closed for over seven weeks until Monday 22 February 2016 while emergency stabilisation works were completed.

The driver of an earlier train had reported a track defect on the viaduct at 07:28 hrs on the same morning, and following trains crossed the viaduct at low speed while a Network Rail track maintenance team was deployed to the site. The team found no significant track defects and normal running was resumed with the 05:57 hrs service being the first train to pass on the down line. Immediately after this occurred at 08:40 hrs, large track movements were noticed by the team, who immediately imposed an emergency speed restriction before closing the line after finding that the central pier was damaged.

The viaduct spans a river bend which causes water to wash against the sides of the piers. It was also known to have shallow foundations. These were among the factors that resulted in it being identified as being at high risk of scour in 2005. A scheme to provide permanent scour protection to the piers and abutments was due to be constructed during 2015, but this project was deferred until mid-2016 because a necessary environmental approval had not been obtained.

To mitigate the risk of scour, the viaduct was included on a list of vulnerable bridges for which special precautions were required during flood conditions. These precautions included monitoring of river levels and closing the line if a pre determined water level was exceeded. However, this process was no longer in use and there was no effective scour risk mitigation for over 100 of the most vulnerable structures across Scotland. This had occurred, in part, because organisational changes within Network Rail had led to the loss of knowledge and ownership of some structures issues.

Although unrelated to the incident, the RAIB found that defects in the central river pier had not been fully addressed by planned maintenance work. There was also no datum level marked on the structure which meant that survey information from different sources could not easily be compared to identify change.

As a result of this investigation, RAIB has made three recommendations to Network Rail relating to:

  • the management of scour risk
  • the response to defect reports affecting structures over water
  • the management of control centre procedures.

Five learning points are also noted relating to effective management of scour risk.

For more information, see:

R222016_161114_Lamington_viaduct

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Ammonia leak kills 1 at Carlsberg brewery in UK

December 5th, 2016 by

SHP reported that a worker at the Carlsberg brewery died and 22 others were injured by a cooling system ammonia leak.

Are you using advanced root cause analysis to investigate near-misses and stop major accidents? Major accidents can be avoided.  That’s a lesson that all facilities with hazards should learn. For current advanced root cause analysis public courses being held around the world, see:

Upcoming TapRooT® Public Courses

TapRooT® can be used for both low to medium risk incidents (including near-misses) and major accidents. For people who will normally be investigating low risk incidents, the 2-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Course is recommended.

For people who will investigate all types of incidents including near-misses and incidents with major consequences (or a potential for major consequences), we recommend the 5-Day Advanced Team Leader Training.

Don’t wait! If you have attended TapRooT® Training, get signed up today!

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Collision at Yafforth, UK, level crossing, 3 August 2016

November 28th, 2016 by

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For a report from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch, see:

www.gov.uk

The Blame Culture Hurts Hospital Root Cause Analysis

November 22nd, 2016 by

If you don’t understand what happened, you will never understand why it happened.

You would think this is just common sense. But if it is, why would an industry allow a culture to exist that promotes blame and makes finding and fixing the root causes of accidents/incidents almost impossible?

I see the blame culture in many industries around the world. Here is an example from a hospital in the UK. This is an extreme example but I’ve seen the blame culture make root cause analysis difficult in many hospitals in many countries.

Dr. David Sellu (let’s just call him Dr. Death as they did in the UK tabloids), was prosecuted for errors and delays that killed a patient. He ended up serving 16 months in high security prisons because the prosecution alleged that his “laid back attitude” had caused delays in treatment that led to the patient’s death. However, the hospital had done a “secret” root cause analysis that showed that systemic problems (not the doctor) had led to the delays. A press investigation by the Daily Mail eventually unearthed the report that had been kept hidden. This press reports eventually led to the doctor’s release but not until he had served prison time and had his reputation completely trashed.

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If you were a doctor or a nurse in England, would you freely cooperate with an investigation of a patient death? When you know that any perceived mistake might lead to jail? When problems that are identified with the system might be hidden (to avoid blame to the institution)? When your whole life and career is in jeopardy? When your freedom is on the line because you may be under criminal investigation?

This is an extreme example. But there are other examples of nurses, doctors, and pharmacists being prosecuted for simple errors that were caused by systemic problems that were beyond their control and were not thoroughly investigated. I know of some in the USA.

The blame culture causes performance improvement to grind to a halt when people don’t fully cooperate with initiatives to learn from mistakes.

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis can help investigations move beyond blame by clearly showing the systemic problems that can be fixed and prevent (or at least greatly reduce) future repeat accidents.Attend a TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Course and find out how you can use TapRooT® to help you change a blame culture into a culture of performance improvement.

Foe course information and course dates, see:

http://www.taproot.com/courses

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Pilot Error is Root Cause

November 14th, 2016 by

The Navy still likes to blame folks as a root cause. At least that’s what I see in this report about a “pilot error” keeping a F/A-18 Hornet making it back to the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Seems there were lot’s of Causal Factors that contributed to the loss of an $86 million dollar aircraft that are described in this article on Military.com:

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/10/27/debris-pilot-error-caused-2015-jet-crash-persian-gulf-navy.html

I haven’t found the report of the video on line.

What do you think of the report of the investigation?

 

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Lessons Learned from Overspeed Incidents in the UK

November 7th, 2016 by

ExcessSpeed

Lessons learned from six trains passing through an emergency speed restriction at excessive speed. For the complete story. see this post from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blatchbridge-safety-digest/overspeed-incidents-somerset-19-july-2016

Arturo de la Garza Guajardo, Safety Guru and TapRooT® Instructor

November 5th, 2016 by

Arturo de la Garza died last July after a long career improving safety and many years teaching TapRooT®.

Arturo was one of our first clients outside the US. Linda and I taught a course for him for the safety people at Cydsa in Monterrey, Mexico. 

Arturo was a Chemical Engineer and had lost of chemical plant experience including plant management before joint Cydsa’s corporate staff.

When Arturo retired from Cydsa, he went to work for Cemex and then left Cemex to become one of out contract TapRooT® Instructors. For over a decade he taught courses for SI in Mexico and South America until he was 80 years old.

We will miss his good humor and knowledge and we know that all the instructors who taught with him and clients with whom he shared his knowledge will miss him as well.

ArturoTeaching

Navy Root Cause Analysis Focused on Blame Vision, Crisis Vision, or Opportunity to Improve Vision?

November 3rd, 2016 by

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In a short but interesting article in SEAPOWER, Vice Admiral Thomas J. Moore stated that Washing Navy Yard had just about completed the root cause analysis of the failure of the main turbine generators on the USS Ford (CVN 78). He said:

The issues you see on Ford are unique to those particular machines
and are not systemic to the power plant or to the Navy as a whole.

Additionally, he said:

“…it is absolutely imperative that, from an accountability standpoint, we work with Newport News
to find out where the responsibility lies. They are already working with their sub-vendors
who developed these components to go find where the responsibility and accountability lie.
When we figure that out, contractually we will take the necessary steps to make sure
the government is not paying for something we shouldn’t be paying for.”

That seems like a “Blame Vision” statement.

That Blame Vision statement was followed up by statement straight from the Crisis Mangement Vision playbook. Admiral Moore emphasized that would get a date set for commissioning of the ship that is behind schedule by saying:

“Right now, we want to get back into the test program and you’ll see us do that here shortly.
As the test program proceeds, and we start to development momentum, we’ll give you a date.
We decided, ‘Let’s fix this, let’s get to the root cause, let’s get back in the test program,’ and
when we do that, we’ll be sure to get a date out. I expect that before the end of the year
we will be able to set a date for delivery.”

Press statements are hard to interpret. Perhaps the Blame and Crisis Visions were just the way the reporters heard the statements or the way I interpreted them. An Opportunity to Improve Vision statement would have been more along the lines of:

We are working hard to discover the root causes of the failures of the main turbine generators
and we will be working with our suppliers to fix the problems discovered and apply the
lessons learned to improve the reliability of the USS Ford and subsequent carriers of this class,
as well as improving our contracting, design, and construction practices to reduce the
likelihood of future failures in the construction of new, cutting edge classes of warships.

Would you like to learn more about the Blame Vision, the Crisis Management Vision, and the Opportunity to Improve Vision and how they can shape your company’s performance improvement programs? The watch for the release of our new book:

The TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Philosophy – Changing the Way the World Solves Problems

It should be published early next year and we will make all the e-Newsletter readers are notified when the book is released.

To subscribe to the newsletter, provide your contact information at:

http://www.taproot.com/contact-us#newsletter

Fatal Theme Park Ride in Australia

November 2nd, 2016 by

Here’s the press report.

A similar ride in the US has been closed while the investigation is ongoing. 

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: CSB Report on the Williams Olefins Plant Explosion and Fire

October 31st, 2016 by

Pres release from the US Chemical Safety Board…

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CSB Releases Final Case Study into 2013 Explosion and Fire at Williams Olefins Plant
in Geismar, Louisiana; Case Study Concludes that Process Safety Management Deficiencies
During 12 Years Prior to the Incident Led to the Explosion

October 19, 2016, Baton Rouge, LA — Today the CSB released its final report into the June 13, 2013, explosion and fire at the Williams Olefins Plant in Geismar, Louisiana, which killed two employees. The report concludes that process safety management program deficiencies at the Williams Geismar facility during the 12 years leading to the incident allowed a type of heat exchanger called a “reboiler” to be unprotected from overpressure, and ultimately rupture, causing the explosion.

The Williams Geismar facility produces ethylene and propylene for the petrochemical industry and employs approximately 110 people. At the time of the incident, approximately 800 contractors worked at the plant on an expansion project aimed at increasing the production of ethylene.

The incident occurred during non-routine operational activities that introduced heat to the reboiler, which was offline and isolated from its pressure relief device. The heat increased the temperature of a liquid propane mixture confined within the reboiler, resulting in a dramatic pressure rise within the vessel. The reboiler shell catastrophically ruptured, causing a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) and fire, which killed two workers; 167 others reported injuries, the majority of which were contractors.

The CSB investigation revealed a poor process safety culture at the Williams Geismar facility, resulting in a number of process safety management program weaknesses. These include deficiencies in implementing Management of Change (MOC), Pre-Startup Safety Review (PSSR), Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) programs, and procedure programs causal to the incident:

  • Failure to appropriately manage or effectively review two significant changes that introduced new hazards involving the reboiler that ruptured—(1) the installation of block valves that could isolate the reboiler from its protective pressure relief device and (2) the administrative controls Williams relied on to control the position (open or closed) of these block valves. 
  • Failure to effectively complete a key hazard analysis recommendation intended to protect the reboiler that ultimately ruptured.
  • Failure to perform a hazard analysis and develop a procedure for the operations activities conducted on the day of the incident that could have addressed overpressure protection. 

CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “The tragic accident at Williams was preventable and therefore unacceptable. This report provides important safety lessons that we urge other companies to review and incorporate within their own facilities.”

The CSB case study on the accident at Williams notes the importance of:

  • Using a risk-reduction strategy known as the “hierarchy of controls” to effectively evaluate and select safeguards to control process hazards.  This strategy could have resulted in Williams choosing to install a pressure relief valve on the reboiler that ultimately ruptured instead of relying on a locked open block valve to provide an open path to pressure relief, which is less reliable due to the possibility of human implementation errors;
  • Establishing a strong organizational process safety culture.  A weak process safety culture contributed to the performance and approval of a delayed MOC that did not identify a major overpressure hazard and an incomplete PSSR;
  • Developing robust process safety management programs, which could have helped to ensure PHA action items were implemented effectively; and
  • Ensuring continual vigilance in implementing process safety management programs to prevent major process safety incidents. 

Following the incident, Williams implemented improvements in managing process safety at the Geismar facility. These include, among others, redesigning the reboilers to prevent isolation from their pressure relief valves, improving its management of change process to be more collaborative, and updating its process hazard analysis procedure.

Investigator Lauren Grim said, “Williams made positive safety management changes at the Geismar facility following the accident, but more should be done to improve process safety and strengthen the plant’s process safety culture. Our report details important safety recommendations to protect workers at the Williams Geismar facility.”

To prevent future incidents and further improve process safety at the Geismar plant, the CSB recommended that Williams strengthen existing safety management systems and adopt additional safety programs. These strategies include conducting safety culture assessments, developing a robust safety indicators tracking program, and conducting detailed process safety program assessments.

The CSB also identified gaps in a key industry standard by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and issued recommendations to API to strengthen its “Pressure-relieving and Depressuring Systems” requirements to help prevent future similar incidents industry-wide.

Chairperson Sutherland said, “Most of the accidents the CSB investigates could have been prevented had process safety culture been a top priority at the facility where the incident occurred. These changes must be encouraged from the top with managers implementing effective process safety management programs.” 

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.  For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202-446-8094 or email public@csb.gov.

Defense Argues Jail Time is Wrong

October 28th, 2016 by

The Associate Press reported that attorneys for Don Blankenship, the imprisoned former CEO of Massey Energy, should not have been sentenced to go to jail for the 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 people.

Read more here:

http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2016/10/coal-news-ex-coal-ceo-argues-he-s-wrongly-imprisoned-after-29-deaths.html?cmpid=EnlDailyPowerOctober272016&eid=294706529&bid=1569999

Note that I found this “wanted poster” on line at http://mountainkeeper.blogspot.com.

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Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: How Can Automation Get You Into Trouble?

October 24th, 2016 by

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Automation dependency is an interesting topic. Here’s what a recent CALLBACK from the Aviation Safety Reporting System had to say about the topic…

http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/docs/cb/cb_440.pdf

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Aviation Safety Reporting System CALLBACK Notice About Ramp Safety

October 17th, 2016 by

CALLBACK Report Ramp Safety

Here’s the start of the report …

This month CALLBACK features reports taken from a cross-section of ramp experiences. These excerpts illustrate a variety of ramp hazards that can be present. They describe the incidents that resulted and applaud the “saves” made by the Flight Crews and Ground Personnel involved.

For the complete report, see:

http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/docs/cb/cb_439.pdf

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: UK RAIB Report on Derailment at Paddington Station in London

October 10th, 2016 by

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Summary from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch …

At 18:12 hrs on Thursday 16 June 2016, a two-car diesel multiple unit train, operated by Great Western Railway (GWR), was driven through open trap points immediately outside Paddington station and derailed. It struck an overhead line equipment (OLE) mast, damaging it severely and causing part of the structure supported by the mast to drop to a position where it was blocking the lines. There were no passengers on the train, and the driver was unhurt. All the the lines at Paddington were closed for the rest of that evening, with some services affected until Sunday 19 June.

For causes and lessons learned, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/paddington-safety-digest/derailment-at-paddington-16-june-2016

Monda Accident & Lessons Learned: US CSB Report on 2014 Freedom Industries Contamination of Charleston, West Virginia Drinking Water

October 3rd, 2016 by

Here is the press release from the US Chemical Safety Board …

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CSB Releases Final Report into 2014 Freedom Industries Mass Contamination of Charleston, West Virginia Drinking Water; Final Report notes Shortcomings in Communicating Risks to Public, and Lack of Chemical Tank Maintenance Requirements Report Includes Lessons Learned and Safety Recommendations to Prevent a Similar Incident from Occurring

September 28, 2016, Charleston, WV, — The CSB’s final report into the massive release of chemicals into this valley’s primary source of drinking water in 2014 concludes Freedom Industries failed to inspect or repair corroding tanks, and that as hazardous chemicals flowed into the Elk River, the water company and local authorities were unable to effectively communicate the looming risks to hundreds of thousands of affected residents, who were left without clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

On the morning of January 9, 2014, an estimated 10,000 gallons of Crude Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) mixed with propylene glycol phenyl ethers (PPH Stripped) were released into the Elk River when a 46,000-gallon storage tank located at the Freedom Industries site in Charleston, WV, failed. As the chemical entered the river it flowed towards West Virginia American Water’s intake, which was located approximately 1.5 miles downstream from the Freedom site.

The CSB’s investigation found that Freedom’s inability to immediately provide information about the chemical characteristics and quantity of spilled chemicals resulted in significant delays in the issuance of the “Do Not Use Order” and informing the public about the drinking water contamination. For example, Freedom’s initially reported release quantity was 1,000 gallons of Crude MCHM.  Over the following days and weeks, the release quantity increased to 10,000 gallons. Also, the presence of PPH in the released chemical was not made public until 13 days after the initial leak was discovered.

The CSB’s investigation found that no comprehensive aboveground storage tank law existed in West Virginia at the time of the release, and while there were regulations covering industrial facilities that required Freedom to have secondary containment, Freedom ultimately failed to maintain adequate pollution controls and secondary containment as required.

CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Future incidents can be prevented with proper communication and coordination.  Business owners, state regulators and other government officials and public utilities must work together in order to ensure the safety of their residents. The CSB’s investigation found fundamental flaws in the maintenance of the tanks involved, and deficiencies in how the nearby population was told about the risks associated with the chemical release.” 

An extensive technical analysis conducted by the CSB found that the MCHM tanks were not internally inspected for at least 10 years before the January 2014 incident. However, the CSB report notes, since the incident there have been a number of reforms including passage of the state’s Aboveground Storage Tank Act.  Among other requirements, the new regulations would have required the tanks at freedom to be surrounded by an adequate secondary containment structure, and require proper maintenance and corrosion prevention, including internal inspections and a certification process.

The CSB’s investigation determined that nationwide water providers have likely not developed programs to determine the location of potential chemical contamination sources, nor plans to respond to incidents such as the one in Charleston, WV. 
Supervisory Investigator Johnnie Banks said, “The public deserves and must demand clean, safe drinking water. We want water systems throughout the country to study the valuable lessons learned from our report and act accordingly. We make specific recommendations to a national association to communicate these findings and lessons.” 

(more…)

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Fatigue

September 26th, 2016 by

Here is a link (click of picture below) to a Callback publication about accidents and Fatigue …

Fatigue Callback

Here is a quote:

“The NTSB 2016 “Most Wanted List” of Transportation Safety Recommendations leads with, ‘Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents.” It states, “Human fatigue is a serious issue affecting the safety of the traveling public in all modes of transportation.’”

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Overspeed at Fletton Junction

September 19th, 2016 by

This incident notice is from the UK Rail Investigation Branch about an overspeed incident at Fletton Junction, Peterborough on 11 September 2015.

At around 17:11 hrs on 11 September 2015, the 14:25 hrs Virgin Trains East Coast passenger train service from Newcastle to London King’s Cross passed through Fletton Junction, near Peterborough at 51 mph (82 km/h) around twice the permitted speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). This caused the carriages to lurch sideways resulting in minor injuries to three members of staff and one passenger.

It is likely that the train driver had forgotten about the presence of the speed restriction because he was distracted and fatigued due to issues related to his family. Lineside signs and in-cab warnings may have contributed to him not responding appropriately as he approached the speed restriction and engineering controls did not prevent the overspeeding. Neither Virgin Trains East Coast, nor the driver, had realised that family-related distraction and fatigue were likely to be affecting the safety of his driving. Virgin Trains East Coast route risk assessment had not recognised the overspeeding risks particular to Fletton Junction and Network Rail had not identified that a speed limit sign at the start of the speed restriction was smaller than required by its standards.

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The incident could have had more serious consequences if the train had derailed or overturned. The risk of this was present because the track layout was designed for a maximum speed of 27 mph (43 km/h).
As a consequence of this investigation, RAIB has made five recommendations. Two addressed to Virgin Trains East Coast relate to enhancing the management of safety critical staff with problems related to their home life, and considering such issues during the investigation of unsafe events.

A recommendation addressed to Virgin Trains East Coast and an associated recommendation addressed to Network Rail relate to assessing and mitigating risks at speed restrictions.

A further recommendation to Network Rail relates to replacement of operational signage when this is non-compliant with relevant standards.

RAIB report also includes learning points relating to managing personal problems that could affect the safety performance of drivers. A further learning point, arising because of a delay in reporting the incident, stresses the importance of drivers promptly reporting incidents which could have caused track damage. A final learning point encourages a full understanding of the effectiveness of safety mitigation provided by infrastructure and signalling equipment.

For more information see:

R142016_160801_Fletton_Jn

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Baby Dies After Oxygen Mix-Up at Hospital in Australia

September 12th, 2016 by

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Here’s a link to the story: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-25/baby-dies-at-bankstown-lidcombe-hospital-after-oxygen-mix-up/7659552

An Oxygen line had been improperly installed in 2015. It fed nitrous oxide to a neonatal resuscitation unit rather than oxygen.

The Ministry of Health representative said that all lines in all hospitals in New South Wales installed since the Liberal government took over in 2011 will be checked for correct function. 

What can you learn from this?

Think about your installation and testing of new systems. How many Safeguards are in place to protect the targets?

Mark Paradies to Speak on Tuesday at the 2016 FDA/PDA Regulatory Conference

September 11th, 2016 by

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Mark Paradies will be talking about root cause analysis at the 2016 Parenternal Drug Associations / Federal Drug Administration Joint Regulatory Conference in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. See page 8 (Session A3) at:

https://www.pda.org/docs/default-source/website-document-library/conferences/2016/pda-fda-joint-regulatory-conference/agenda.pdf

See you there!

 

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