(78c) How a 5 Year Old Learned About Process Safety Management

Authors: 
Willey, R. J., Northeastern University
My mother told me that both sides of my family trace back to the early wave of Scotch-Irish that settled the rural areas of New Hampshire in the 1600’s. A number of Willey’s served the country in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW1, and WW2. They were known for toughness coming from the rugged backwoods of New Hampshire. Such was my father, US Marine, WW2. He worked 24/7 before 24/7 was a term, never missing a day of work until the accident. The accident, in the Spring of 1955 or 1956, occurred when 5 to 7 pine logs fell onto my father while he was loading his logging truck. He barely survived, and was on disability for nearly a year, having fractured his skill, blinded in one eye, and recovering from several broken several back bones. However, he bounced back, more determined than ever to return to logging, and performing the job in a safe manner. He’d often bring me along, and I’d watch his approach to safe operation, always checking things twice, as he chained up his loads. It was a tough way to make a living; however, he never suffered another injury until lung cancer from heavy smoking took him at 43. He always emphasized that safety came first. Do the job right and safe. I was around big equipment and heavy tools frequently, and the surprising thing I remember is my father’s attitude towards safe work practice. I received my lessons in process safety management early. Didn’t always listen; however, it has led to few incidents in my journey through life, and some of these words of safety first have been passed onto my children and my students.