July 15, 2013 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accidents & Lessons Learned: Process Safety Accidents Continue to Kill

With all our knowledge, why do we continue to have deadly process safety accidents?

Process safety accidents are accidents that kill people not by standard industrial safety hazards like falls from height or contact with electrical lines. Rather, process safety accidents happen when a potentially hazardous process fails.

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Explosion at West, Texas

OSHA and the EPA have written regulations to attempt to control these accidents – fires and explosions – in the chemical industry. But process safety accidents happen in more industries than chemical manufacturing plants and refineries. Examples include the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling accident, the fertilizer explosion in West, Texas, (a distribution site), airline crashes, nuclear plant accidents, grain elevator dust explosions, etc. The list goes on and on. You might even include patient safety accidents at hospitals.

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Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash at San Francisco Airport

Why, when we know how to make these processes work reliably, do accidents continue? I believe management doesn’t understand the keys to running a high reliability operation at a high hazard facility. These lessons go beyond OSHA/EPA regulations and require a commitment and understanding by senior management of the technology being managed and of the processes to ensure safety. And I spoke about these concepts at the 2010, 2012, and 2013 TapRooT® Summits. If you missed these talks, you can see  them by CLICKING HERE.

That will get you started. But you should also plan to attend one of our Best Practices for Reducing Serious Injuries and Fatalities Course on October 24-25 in Knoxville, TN. CLICK HERE for more information.

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