IChemE’s Trish Kerin ponders that $64,000 question as she and Traci Purdum look back at lessons learned from the Montara oil field incident in 2009. 

Was the Seveso accident, which released dioxin in the air and was named by Time magazine as one of the top manmade environmental disasters, a black swan event? Not likely, according to Trish Kerin, director of the IChemE Safety Centre. On the 45th anniversary of this catastrophic event, we take a look at lessons learned.

A hack at SolarWinds in 2020 prompted executive orders to get cybersecurity under control at firms supplying the government. Private companies will have to comply even if they aren’t the primary contractor. The Colonial Pipeline hack solidified the need.

Preparing for the worst is in a facility’s best interest. Indeed, in 2020 there were over 800 natural and man-made disasters that resulted in $4.5 trillion in damages.

This episode of Process Safety with Trish & Traci features Dale Sands, an expert in risk reduction and resiliency.

The catastrophic incident at the Fukushima power plant 10 years ago started long before an earthquake and tsunami wiped out power and caused three reactor meltdowns -- the real problem started in 1967 when the plant was built in a tsunami-prone area. The lessons learned from this disaster can save others.

Advertising so many days since the last injury can do more harm than good at a facility. The absence of an incident doesn't mean the presence of safety. Focusing on the correct indicators can help you intervene and potentially change the future. In this episode, Trish & Traci prove when the measure becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure.

When disaster strikes, first responders already have a tough job ahead of them. Don’t put them in further danger by failing to effectively communicate what your facility does and what hazardous substances are stored there.

It starts with the idea of the inherently safer design principle and that involves elimination. You can take out one hazard but are you increasing the presence of other hazards? What's better? What's worse? This is a judgment call that needs to be made on an engineering basis.


This episode reiterates that process safety requires constant vigilance. The challenge is when it works well, nothing goes wrong. People then question if you really need to spend all that money on safety efforts. The reason nothing is going wrong is because you’re doing it right.

A heat exchanger, management of change issues and a gap in knowledge led to a catastrophic incident. All of these were preventable mistakes. When will we learn? 

In this episode Trish and Traci speak with podcast guest Valerie Stakes, a bilingual safety trainer based in San Diego, California.

The trio conclude companies need to ensure that communications are understandable because process safety doesn't give you second chances.

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