I visited with Micheal Fleming, CEO at Decision Point, on Tuesday and discussed safety in the work place. Michael is promoting a new paradigm in safety: linking occupational safety to process safety as one unit.
Micheal starts with a new definition of hazard; that is, potential energy that can cause damage to infrastructure and hurt people.
So what is energy? Michael states the traditional definition:
And there is the key, energy is stored in so many places in the workspace and in the process: people on ladders, cranes, heat exchangers, compressors, pumps, and forklifts. Occupational safety is tied to process safety and they must be mitigated together.
This reminds me of the Formosa Plastics incident in 2005, Port Comfort, Texas. A trailer being pulled by a forklift pulls a manual valve off a strainer on a C3 splitter overhead line going to storage. The propylene spills on the ground and catches fire. The C3 splitter adds fuel to the flame. The tower PSV goes off but since the column supporting the relief header is not fire protected, the column buckles and the header breaks. The header now sends the tower relief right into the flames.
Occupational and process safety are linked.