Book: The Process Safety Professional. Chapter 1/8. Important Events
Many of our recent posts have been taken from the manuscript of the book The Process Safety Professional. The goal of the book is to describe some of the skills, knowledge and experience that are needed for a process safety professional to be effective in his or her work.
This book is not intended to be a process safety primer. There are many other books, such as our own Process Risk and Reliability Management, and the many publications from the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), that fill that role.
We are now releasing the contents of the chapters as they are finished to our paid subscribers. This post is the eighth in the series. It is taken from part of Chapter 1 — The Process Safety Professional.
STEP 9. IMPORTANT EVENTS
The Spanish philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) is credited with the following well-known quotation.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
The next quotation is frequently used by those who work in the process and energy industries.
There is always news about safety, and some of that news will be bad.
Put these two quotations together, and we recognize that one of the best ways of ensuring process safety is to make sure that we do not have to re-learn the lessons from events that have taken place in years gone by. Therefore, it makes sense to spend a few moments reviewing the history of process safety. By looking at the causes and consequences of catastrophic incidents, process safety professionals, particularly those who are new to the industry, may be able to avoid repeating the mistakes of their predecessors.
Many of the major steps forward in the development of process safety occurred as a response to a major event — usually a fire, explosion of large release of toxic chemicals. Four of these events were particularly important in the development of the process safety discipline, both onshore and offshore. They were Flixborough, Bhopal, Piper Alpha and Deepwater Horizon/Macondo.
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