I'm the global practice leader for the ABB Consulting Process Safety team. I've spent 33 years in the process industries, working in process design (MW Kellogg), process/project engineering (Celanese/Hercules/Anchor), operations (ICI Acrylics) and consultancy (ICI Eutech/ABB Consulting). I have experience in all sectors of the high hazard process industry and I specialise in risk assessment techniques for new plant design and existing operations. In recent years I've become increasingly involved in all aspects of Process Safety Management and Leadership, tutoring on courses organised through the National Skills Academy in the UK.
Process Safety accidents continue at an alarming rate across the globe, notably the high profile explosions at Texas City and Buncefield in 2005, then more recently in Gulf of Mexico and only last year at a refinery in Venezuela. These serious events are thankfully rare, but cause terrible loss of life and threaten the very existence of companies. The community of Process Safety practitioners need to share experiences of incidents, not just from their sector but relevant learning from all accidents with serious consequences. I aim to share relevant learning on a range of process safety topics, following the proverb "A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a fool by his own".
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The massive explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco Texas recently is another reminder of how the process industry fails to adequately control major accident hazards. Initial indications point to a warehouse fire that lasted for around 30 minutes before