Sutton Technical Books

Ebook: History of Safety and Risk in the Process and Energy Industries 


  Inherent Safety
  Occupational Safety
  Process Safety
Safety Moments

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Ebook: History of process risk and safety


Ebook: History of process risk and safety

Although the study the history of the process industries is, in and of itself, quite interesting, it is still reasonable to question why such a study is worth the bother. Fundamentally, as Trevor Kletz pointed out, "Organizations don't have memories, only people do".

But people leave the organizations for which they work and they take their lessons-learned knowledge with them, so there needs to be some means of capturing that knowledge and conveying it to others, although, as the following two quotations rather cynically note that we do not learn lessons from the past — each generation has to make its own mistakes.


The first reason for studying past events is that generate insights that help employees and contract workers prevent similar events from occurring in the future.

Second, an examination of events within the process industries can help generate an understanding of overall trends and provides guidance as to where to focus future safety effort and investment. The same analysis helps professionals identify patterns. Experienced process safety professionals may even use the names of major incidents to summarize the state of a facility. For example, one PHA team leader once described a certain facility to another leader as containing "many little Flixboroughs." Those three words told the second leader that MOC was a problem at the location in question because the Flixborough incident in the year 1974 was caused by a total lack of MOC procedures.


A third reason for studying the history of safety in the process industries is that it shows people - particularly those who work in a facility with a good safety record - that bad events really do happen. Study of these events helps get around the "But it can't happen here" syndrome.  


Historical Study
Case Studies
Photographs and Videos
   Photographs / Videos
   Security Cameras
Development of Safety Programs
   1. Safety as a Value
   2. Codes and Standards
   3. Workers' Compensation
   4. Occupational Safety
   5. Systems Analysis
   6. Regulations
   7. Management Systems
   8. Behavior-Based Safety 
   9. Culture  

Other Materials

We provide a video to do with major incidents in the process and energy industries.

At our Process Risk and Reliability Management blog site we often discuss the history and background to risk and safety management and analysis. Feel free to join in the discussion.

Purchasing Information

This ebook comes as part of a package; it includes:

  • The video
  • The ebook
  • The storyboard to go with the video
  • (A test is not included with this particular publication)

This package is provided at no cost to give you an idea as to what these videos/ebook publications look like. It can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Ian Sutton

Ian Sutton is a chemical engineer with over 40 years experience in the process industries. He has worked on the design and operation of offshore platforms, refineries, chemical plants, pipelines and minerals processing facilities.


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