Don't Do What We Did - Stupidity, Luck, and Making Good Choices

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    March 29, 2017
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • PDHs:

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Abstract - Fortunately, the focus on safe behaviors, hazard recognition, and risk management has greatly improved over the past few decades. However, in the early days of the authors’ careers, there wasn’t the same level of safety awareness - and much more risk-taking behavior. In this paper, the authors recount events in which they (and others) were ignorant, careless, or actively put themselves in dangerous situations. These poor choices could have, or did actually result in, chemical exposures, fall hazards, overpressure events, and process upsets. The authors describe the circumstances leading to the decisions to take personal risks, what happened (and what could have happened), and the consequences resulting from those poor choices. As George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” These same events could happen today to inexperienced (or even experienced) engineers, and it is hoped that the lessons learned by the authors will prevent others from putting themselves in risky situations.
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