Book: Process Risk and Reliability Management

Safety Moments



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Safety Moments in the Process IndustriesWe offer the following Safety Moments at YouTube. You can download them at no cost. They can be used at the start of meetings and any other occasion where you want to get over the message that “Things Can Happen” — no matter how good our safety programs may be there is no guarantee that we are safe. 

Some of the Safety Moments, such as Mumbai High North High, are to do with very serious events that led to the loss of life and major economic loss. Other, such as Grand Canyon Leap, are much less serious — even somewhat humorous. But, in all cases we strive to develop process safety management lessons from them.

Fall through Hatch (3:06)

Fall through HatchThis Safety Moment shows an incident in which a person working in an office or store falls through an open hatch. Information provided later suggests that she was not significantly injured.


Lessons learned include:

1) Lockout-Tagout applies to all situations — not just the management of highly hazardous chemicals.
2) No barriers of any type were placed around the open hatch.
3) This appears to be a routine activity suggesting that improvements to operating procedures and training are needed. It may also be a case where disciplinary action is called for.

Grand Canyon Leap (3:42)

Hot Line
This sequence of photographs shows a photographer taking extraordinary risk just to get a better photograph. However the situation may not have been as dangerous as it looks (“The camera never lies”?)

Hot Line (4:00)

Hot LineWhen it comes to process safety there is much talk about "Human Error". Yet that term is overly simplistic. There are many types of human error. This video illustrates one of them: ‘Slips’. The lady in question knew exactly what to do — further training would have been of little benefit. She simply ‘slipped up'.

The lesson here is that, if human error is determined to be the cause of accidents then it is important to define just what type of error is in play. If the cause is slips then the system needs to be redesigned — there is little to be gained by trying to improve human behavior.

The true meaning of offshore safety (3:13)

Deepwater HorizonThis video shows three seminal events in the offshore oil and gas industry: Piper Alpha (1988), Exxon Valdez (1989) and Deepwater Horizon (2010). It shows that, although events such as these occur only rarely, when they do occur they are very serious indeed.

Safety is not just an academic exercise — it involves real people losing their lives or being seriously injured.

Mumbai High North: A Discouraging Sameness (10:25)

Mumbai High NorthIn the year 2005 the offshore oil and gas platform, Mumbai High North, about 160 km west of Mumbai (Bombay) suffered a catastrophic fire. 22 men died, many others were injured and the platform was destroyed.

We describe this event and use it to critique the safety management systems that we use. One important lesson that crops up time and time again is that a root cause for major events is that someone-somewhere was trying to improve safety. In this case, the attempt to provide medical treatment to the galley worker who had seriously injured his thumb resulted in the death of twenty two men and the loss of a major facility.

We also observe that there is a discouraging sameness between this event and so many others, particularly Piper Alpha. It seems as if we never learn.

Vehicle Static (6:57)

Vehicle Static fireThis video shows a fire at a service station caused by static electricity. Fortunately no one was injured.




We use this Safety Moment to demonstrate some general safety principles and also to highlight some process safety management issues, including the successful application of one elements of process safety: Mechanical Integrity. Two check valves did their job: the valve at the handle of the hose and the flapper valve on the filler line of the van.


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