This month's On the Horizon article introduces the concept of dynamic risk analysis based on alarm databases. Other topics include: developing an effective air-pollution-control strategy; flowmeter selection, energy design reviews; and project management best practices. Also read about the latest developments in materials, nanotechnology, energy and biotechnology.
Process safety is on my mind for several reasons, including the recent explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant and this month’s On the Horizon article, “Improve Process Safety with Near-Miss Analysis,” by Ulku Oktem, Warren Seider, Masoud Soroush, and Ankur Pariyani (pp. 20–27).
The February Spotlight on Safety column focused on black swan events — i.e., highly improbable events that are unpredictable, carry massive impacts, and in retrospect can be explained in a way that makes them appear less random and more predictable than previously thought. In my editorial in that issue, I referred to work by Elisabeth Paté-Cornell of Stanford Univ., who suggested that the term black swan is used too liberally after a disaster as an excuse for poor planning.
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