Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bonus Process Wednesday: Industry shouldn't be complacent about chemical safety

In the middle of a pretty interesting editorial on academic chemical safety by Trevor Laird (who should maybe be considered one of the first chemistry bloggers?), a comment on small companies and process safety:
Industry, however, should not be complacent. While the emphasis on developing a safety culture in most larger companies is high, particularly in Europe and North America, in a few smaller startup companies and in some countries, the safety culture needs to be drastically improved with a greater emphasis on education and training. For example, some companies I visit/audit still scale up processes without any understanding of the thermal hazards of working with larger equipment, relying on the fact that they have not had an incident this year as a basis for safety. I fervently hope they do not end up paying for this ignorance if someone should be injured or die.
I wish I could say that I disagreed with Dr. Laird, and that everything was fine in industry. But I really can't.  

1 comment:

  1. 1) I think the T2 disaster would support this strongly (see Derek Lowe's post on this -

    In the comments, a commenter Dr. CMS made a list of other related disasters at US companies, presumably not all at small businesses ["@Jose - Go to the CSB and read the reports on the Sythron, MFG, CAI/Arnel, Bethune Point etc etc. There are lots of detailed investigations that show lots of companies big and small don't have a clue how to run chemical reactions safely."] I don't think it can be true in most cases (because I don't think we're that lucky), but it seems like in a lot of cases, companies would much rather remain ignorant and pay with someone else's life than pay the costs of safety now.

    2) Thanks for changing the spam barrier. I don't know if it works on my wife's iPad, but it works at not home now.