Roundtable Meeting — June 2-3, 1999

 

Tape #1

Dr. Mannan: Howdy, you’re at Texas A&M so you’ve got to get used to the language and culture here. We don’t speak very much English here but our hearts are very warm and we want to do the right thing. For those who don’t know me I am Sam Mannan. I am the director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center. I am honored and feel very privileged to welcome all of you to the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center Round Table meeting on Chemical Safety Program Assessment. We have very ambitious goals for this project and I sincerely hope that our efforts during these two days will help define the direction of the projects. I would emphasize and repeat here that this project has been undertaken with a lot of hopes and big visions but we have not set an agenda. There is no agenda. We really want to do the right thing and get to the right place so we need all your help in doing all of this. If you have any questions or concerns or need more information on any facet of this project or any of the other activities of the center, please feel free to ask myself or any of the center personnel. If you don’t feel like you want to ask the question during the public part of the meeting feel free to stop me or any of the other center personnel during the day, today or tomorrow, and ask them questions you have. I am going to take a couple of minutes to introduce some of the center personnel that are here. We probably outnumber you but its because the center is here and actually a lot of the center researchers and students have participated. The center personnel that are here today are: Myself, Jerry Bradshaw, Charles Isdale, Harry West, Mike O’ Connor will be here later today, Dave Willette, Donna Startz, Teresa Baldwin, Diane Kilpatrick, Brad Haecker, Eboni McCray, Tina Sposato, Passaporn Sukmarg, Dr. Bill Rogers, Isaac Paez. These are some of the center personnel that are here. First of all I am not going to spend a lot of time talking. This is your meeting. We want input from you. In fact the briefing papers have been prepared. My instructions or discussions with them is to limit their remarks to between 30 and 45 minuets so we leave enough room for exchange of discussions or ideas that we can generate here. Now to set the stage what I would like to do is tell you a little bit about the history of the center. Many of you know a little bit about the center but I am going to assume that you don’t know much about it so I am going to start fresh from ground zero. Those of you who recall the accident at the temple complex in 1989 in Houston /Pasadena area. Twenty-three people died in that accident and one of the persons that was killed was Mary Kay O’Connor, a young Chemical Engineer, graduate from the University of Missouri. As a result of her death her family, particularly her husband, endowed the center. The instructions that were given as part of the agreement in setting up the center with the board of regents of the University of Texas A&M is to conduct, or develop and implement programs for teaching, research, and service which contribute towards the improvement of safety in the chemical process industry. If you look at that statement, that directive, it is a very simple statement. How do you implement it or bring it to reality? What we have tried to do at Texas A&M is take an approach at different levels. One of the levels that we are approaching it at is integrating process safety into the curriculum of both teaching and research in chemical Engineering. Introducing courses in Process Safety, revising the existing courses to include process safety problems, having chemical engineering masters and Ph.D. students working on process safety problems. A lot of those students are here today. So what we feel that once we go to this exercise sooner or later, we will be able to bring to reality our byline, our team, our motto, making safety second nature. So that safety is not slapped on as an add on or as an after the fact situation after the design has been completed. Safety is something that is first and foremost in everyone’s thinking either during the design phase, the operation phase, or whatever you have. Its not something that someone does after the main project is over. So that is one of our objectives. The main thing to remember, even though our center is in its embryonic stage. It’s only been in existence for four years. Actually more of the high degree of operation has been over the last two years but our programs are basically very ambitious. If you look at the teaching, research, or service, even the way we develop our research agenda, we are trying to solve problems on a much more comprehensive and integrated basis. Now when you take that approach you do open yourselves up to the possibility of failure. But I have always felt that I’d rather try and fail than not try at all. With that motto I will start talking about the fiscal year of the center. Many of you have favorites either in the sports world or the political world or the entertainment world. Whatever that may be you pick up things they say or do. One of my favorites over the years has been Yogi Bear. Because of the very profound and interesting things that he has said at times. I was looking at one of his books that was given to me by a very good friend of mine. I was looking at this book and came upon the subject of goats. Here are some of the things he said about goals. You have to be careful if you do not know where you are going because you might not get there. This sounds very funny and probably an impossible statement but that is really true. If you do not know where you are going you are not going to get there. And then he says something much more understandable. Many of us set goals as either New Year promises or because we are goal oriented. Some of us don’t. Today and tomorrow what we are trying to address is chemical safety. Chemical safety is a pretty complex area. If you look at Chemical safety and say, "Can we set goals for chemical safety." Have we even made an effort to do that? I submit to you ladies and gentlemen that I think we can and I also will tell you that up till now we have not taken a problematic approach to setting goals. The reason I say that is because of an example I am going to give you. It is very hard for me or anyone else here I’m sure to take Chemical safety and say this is how we are going to set goals and this is how we are going to go about it. If it were so easy we wouldn’t have to have this meeting. We wouldn’t have to have this project. Let me give you an example of how this might work. Let’s take for example your health. You might go to the doctor because you had a heart attack. Then the doctor might do something like take some reactive measure and try to fix you up so you are back in good health again. On the other hand, because you are a prudent person; you are a goal-oriented person; you do regular checkups. So the first checkup he does a complete physical and says uh oh your blood pressure is too high. He sets a goal for you for that blood pressure. He says in order to reach this goal you have to commence certain activities like control your weight, diet and maybe even medication. And once he assigns those activities to you he also says this is the time limit I am giving you to reach this goal. He also gives you some monitoring tools to measure whether or not you are progressing toward that goal. Now I will be the first one to admit to you that this is an over simplified comparison to setting chemical safety goals, to finding measurement tools. But let me submit to you that this is a model that we can compare us with and try to find something that may be similar. Basically if you move on to chemical safety, what we have done more or less in this country and overseas has been more a reactor than proactive our program. We have not done, for an example, base lining. Where we are, where we want to go. Our databases lack enough information to tell us whether or not we are doing well in safety. We don’t have any program, progress, or measurement tools. So because of that, I think these are the things we need to key on. We need to establish chemical safety goals. We need to establish some kind of measurement systems, and we need to establish some kind of activities needed to meet these goals. And as I said earlier, this is easier said then done. But if we were able to find a simple solution as the health example then we would have done it. Because it has not been so easy it has not been done before. We are very happy and proud in a way to have taken this step towards moving in this direction. Why do we want to have this meeting? We could have gone and developed our goals and published them and that would have been it. I think one of the reasons we have to have this meeting is that I don’t think about chemical safety the way that you do or you don’t think about it the way someone else does. The important thing is that these stakeholders and stakeholders is an overused term, but I really mean it when I say stakeholders. These stakeholders all have different ideas and different ways of looking at things. If we cannot bring them together to agree on some common consensus goals, to agree on some similar way of looking at things, to agree on how to take credit or give credit for different things, and to agree that this is a team work and not an us versus them attitude then its not going to work. That is why I am going to tell you that we have not developed an agenda for this. Nothing has been decided as to where we want to go because we really don’t know where we want to go. By the end of this meeting where I want to be, hopefully, is these three things: That we have a consensus on some national chemical safety goals. I’ll agree with you that we may not get there. But let’s try to get there. I’ll agree with you that those goals may not be the final goals. We might have to come back and change them. But let’s try to get some preliminary goals or the ones that we can work with. Lets agree on some common measure of evaluation. We don’t want to get into a situation where depending upon which stakeholder it is the measure of evaluation is different. We have to agree on some common measure of evaluation. If you say its good, I should say its good too. If you say its bad, I should say its bad too. The final thing is how does everyone get credit for what they are doing. Remember not a single individual or large organization can claim that where we are today from where we were 20 or 30 years ago it has happened because of their activities. It has happened because everyone has worked together. But my point is that everyone must work together on a reactive basis. Now lets look at the issues and work on a more program basis. Chemical safety is a very proud area as I said earlier. It is not possible for one organization, company or agency to accomplish everything. So we need a team effort and we need to find a way where everyone should get credit for what they do. Now that is what I think about the whole project and about this meeting. Now let me spend some time and finish up real quick by saying some very simple things. These days my daughters are ten and twelve and they seem to take more interest in my activities than my wife does. Maybe they are at that age where their parents are still heroes. Things may change in a couple more years. But as I was getting ready to leave my house this morning they had their usual list of 20 or 30 questions. Where are you going? What are you going to be doing? What is chemical safety? How are you going to know that you had a good day or you were successful in what you did? And so on and so forth. And I, as a dutiful parent would do, tried to answer all of their questions as best as I could. Some times I have to take the usual way out and say it’s the act of God so stop asking any more questions. But I did the best I could. As I answered all there questions I was thinking about this meeting, I wondered if all of you that are at this meeting were having similar conversations as you were talking to your children or your love ones. Basically what I am trying to say is that the questions that children ask are very similar. As you come into this room and you look at everybody and say, wow what a disbarren group of individual. These guys are going to agree on consensus goals. Are you out of your mind? These guys don’t have anything in common. I totally disagree with you on that. We have a lot in common. Where we need to start from is the love for our children and our families is exactly the same. I am pretty confident of that. I can assure you of that. The way we look at them. The questions they ask of us. The dreams they have, the children, they are exactly the same. So we have a lot in common. So let’s start from there. Yes, the way we look at chemical safety, where we want to be, we may have a lot of differences. Let me challenge you in that for the next two days let us begin with those very simple common denominators and try to build upwards. I can assure you that if we try to understand each other’s possessions and have respect for each other’s opinions, we will find common ground and be able to reach consensus on all issues. I am very confident of that. Another question some of you may ask is why embark on this journey. Are we okay where we are? Should we embark on this journey? My personal answer to you is yes. Otherwise these same children that ask us these questions will be very upset with us when they grow up. Because they will say that we haven’t done anything in the last thirty years. So it is our responsibility, our obligation to posterity, that we do embark on this journey. Some of you may ask not here some where else. If not here then where? I can say without a doubt that Texas A&M, one of the prestigious Universities in the country, the center with some of the work that is already done bring some credentials to the table with the expertise we have on staff with the people we are trying to involve like this group. I think this is the right setting to do it. Now you may disagree with me. If you do we need to hear that. If we need to change the setting, if we need to bring different people in, you need to tell us that. That is why I say if not us, who. Look around this room. We have experts from different parts of the country. We have people from the government. We have people from the industry. We have people from public interest groups. We have people from all different walks of life. And if we cannot help tackle this problem then who will. So I am firmly convinced that the answer to all these questions is positive. That we are embarked on the right journey this is the right place, this is the right group, this is the right time. As I said, professors tend to me a little long winded so forgive me if I have been a little too long on my introduction. What I would like to do now is introduce the participants. You know when you go to these meetings you go around the room and say where you’re from, your company name and why you’re here. Today I will not ask you why you are here. I don’t even know why I am here. So when I ask you to introduce yourself just give your name and company affiliations.

Dave Willette: I am Dave Willette. I am the associate director here at the center. In my life before I have worked with Occidental Chemical and was involved with Dupont’s safety and health and process risk program for a number of years before that.

Johnny Wright: I am Johnny Wright with BP Amoco/ Chemicals Group these days.

Harry West: Hi my name is Harry West. I am with Shawnee Engineers/ Avenger Capital Group and also trying to keep ole Sam here straight.

John Susil: I am John Susil. I am manager for process safety for Celanese Chemical headquartered in Dallas.

Steve Kabel: I am Steve Kabel, not Doug Stephens as the sign says there. He was unable to attend so he sent me instead. I am with Pinks International Union.

Angela Summers: Hello I am Angela Summers. I am with Premier Consulting and Engineering.

Paris Stavrianidis: Hello I am Paris Stavrosnidis with Factory Mutual.

Ray Skinner: I am Ray Skinner. I am the area director of OSHA. The Houston south area office. When we opened our office in 1991 there was hardly a week when this industry did not have fire and explosions and chemical releases. Of course I hate to brag. I am not bragging. I feel like I need to say something positive. I am very proud of the way industry has formed a partnership with industry employees and the agency in making sure we have safer workplaces in the chemical industry.

Gerry Scannell: I am Gerry Scannell, president of the National Safety Council.

Jerry Poje: Jerry Poje, a member of the Chemical safety and Hazard investigation Board.

Irv Rosenthal: Irv Rosenthal, Chemical safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Bob Perry: The center for Chemical Process Safety of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers. In a previous life I was vice president of manufacturing and engineering for Union Carbide Corporation.

John Noronha: John Noronha, consulting for Kodak

Jim Overman: Jim Overman. Dow Chemical Company. I am the environmental emergency response coordinator for Texas operations.

Fred Millar: Fred Millar, I am with the Center for Y2K and society in Washington D.C., and formally was the Toxins director at Friends of the Earth.

Pat McNulty: Pat McNulty. I am with the Risk management and decision process center at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Mike McHale: Hi, I am Mike McHale with Air Products and Chemicals

Jim Makris: Good Morning I am Jim Makris for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Eboni McCray: Eboni McCray, graduate student here at Texas A&M University and a member of Dr, Mannan’s research team.

Greg Keeports: Greg Keeports with Rohm and Haas Company.

Pam Kaster: Pam Kaster, citizens for a clean enviroment. A citizen volunteer from Zachry Louisiana.

Jim Holler: Good morning, I’m Jim Holler from the Agency for toxic substances and disease registry.

Tim Gablehouse: Good morning I am Tim Gablehouse. I am a member of the Colorado Emergency planning Commission. I am chair of the local emergency planning committee in Jefferson County Colorado. I am also the vice chair of the Governors inter agency advisory group on hazardous materials and in my spare time I am an environmental lawyer.

Hank Austin – Hi I am Hank Austin. I am representing the American Society of Safety Engineers. I am also a Manager for safety and environmental affairs for a company call USA in San Antonio. And I am a former fire chief.

Lois Epstein: I am Lois Epstein. I am a senior engineer for the Environment Defense Fund in Washington.

Steve Brouillard: Howdy. I am Steve Brouillard. Manager of Safety and Occupational Health at Conoco. I am based out of Houston.

Jerry Bradshaw - Howdy. My name is Jerry Bradshaw and I teach in the Chemical Engineering Department at Texas A & M and help Sam when I can. In my former life I was director in Central Engineering at Union Carbide and functioned as Vice President of the R--- Petrochemical company in Saudi Arabia when Bob Perry banished me over there.

Irene Jones: Good morning. My name is Irene Jones and I am manager of Process Safety and Risk Management for Huntsman located in Houston.

Wayne Bissett: Good morning. My name is Wayne Bissett. I am with the Environmental Emergencies group which is equivalent to the USEPA’s Chemical and Emergency Preparedness office which Jim Makris is director of. I really appreciate the opportunity to be invited to this meeting. If I was to speak in my usual format I would say bon jour.

Delilah Barton: Delilah Barton. I am the --- for the Chemical Process Safety Report.

Bob Barrish: Good morning. I am Bob Barrish and my paycheck comes from the State of Delaware.

Kari Barrett: Good morning. I am Kari Barrett and I am with the Chemical Manufacturers Association. I work with our plant operations team which has oversight of occupational health safety and process safety issues.

Jon Averback: Good morning. I am Jon Averback. I am here in a personal capacity. I work in USEPA region one

Luis Arango: Good morning. Representing the chemical and pharmaceutical team for HSB Industrial Risk Insurers

Kim Jennings: Hi, I am Kim Jennings with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Charles Isdale: Hi, I am Charles Isdale with Texas A&M University Department of Chemical Engineering.

Tina Sposado: Hi, I am Tina Sposado and I am a graduate student at Texas A&M and part of professor Mannan’s research team.

Passaporn Sukmarg: I am Passaporn Sukmarg and I am a graduate student at Texas A&M and Dr. Mannan’s research team.

Bill Rogers: Bill Rogers, research at Texas A&M, Chemical Engineering and I work with Sam in the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.

Phil Kogen: I am Phil Kogen with Chemical Safety Board. Before that I spent 23 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Donna Startz: I am Donna. Nice to meet you.

Dr. Mannan: Thank you all for your introductions and howdy again. One thing that you notice with the microphones around the room – I want to point out to you that there are two mics in the middle and any conversation that goes on in the room, Mark has advised me that his recording system will pick up and will record. The reason they are necessary is that when someone talks someone from there might not be able to hear it. So you can rest assured that your conversation will be recorded, but if you want everyone to hear you, please use the portable mic. Without further ado I am going to introduce our facilitator. As I pointed out earlier, this is a unique journey and a unique journey you can take a roundtable meeting like this, I felt like myself and some of the other staff that we have in the center being so close to the subject matter, it was probably not gonna work if I or someone from the center served as facilitator. So we looked around and we were very fortunate in finding someone who I can say is a very unique person with his background and experience. As far as his accomplishments and background is concerned, when you compare that with the short bio we have, that really doesn’t do him justice to what he has accomplished in his life. But even there I wouldn’t want to read his whole bio, I will read certain excerpts so if you will forgive me Dr. Monroe. Dr. Haskell Monroe, Dean of Faculties Emeritus and Director of the Texas A&M Heritage Preservation Program has devoted his professional life to leadership roles in public higher education. He has returned to his true academic home where he began as a temporary instructor in 1959, following a brief summer assignment at Schreiner Institute, and served for twenty-one years. Early in that period, as secretary of the Aspirations Committee, he drafted the report which recommended some key changes at A&M in the early 1960’s – including co-education, non-compulsory Corps membership, racial integration, and high admission standards; and as the first Dean of Faculties was part of the 1970s administrative team which laid the basic foundations for today’s TAMU. With BA and MA degrees from Austin College and a Ph.D from Rice University, he came to College Station, where his colleagues selected him for the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching the first year he was eligible for that honor. After leaving A&M in 1980 as Dean of Faculties and Professor of History, Dr. Monroe serviced as President of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) from 1980-1987, when he became Chancellor of the University of Missouri (MU).

Throughout his twenty years as a full-time administrator, Dr. Monroe continued to pursue his first love – teaching. While Dean at A&M, President at UTEP, and Chancellor at Missouri, he taught an American History survey course every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. In addition, his research in Southern history earned him a number of recognitions, including the Centennial Medallion from the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and the Founder’s Award from the Museum of the Confederacy. In his last semester at MU, the Council of Greek Organizations selected him as the "Outstanding Teacher on Campus." Please help me thank Dr. Monroe and welcome him as our facilitator. Before I turn it over to you Dr. Monroe, let me summarize some of the rules here. From now on, Haskell is going to be the lead on everything that happens here. My request to you is to follow the facilitator’s lead. Also, for transcription purposes, please identify yourself whenever you speak because everything is going to be recorded and we would like it transcribed later. I talked about the mics – raise your hand if you want the mic. Also, as you will see there are observers, the roundtable attendees are the primary people to take part in discussions, if the observers feel like they can’t hold themselves back I will let Haskell make a decision on that, but primarily it is the roundtable attendees who should be participating in the discussion. With that I will turn it over to Haskell. Thank you very much.

Dr. Monroe: Yogi Bera was quoted and I remember one night a few years ago I was seated next to Stan U--- at a banquet in St. Louis and he asked me if I suffered from what Yogi called "A Professor’s Disease." I said, What do you mean? He said, "One night Yogi said, ‘You know a lot of professors, when they finish talking, you can’t figure out what they said." Let’s hope that that is not true with any of us. Let’s hope that all of us speak clearly and that we get to the point. I must say to you that we are honored that you are here on campus. This is 123 years, we hope, of public service in the real world. A&M is very proud to take theory and try to make it function. It is one thing to come up with ideas, it is another thing to make them work in the real world. This institution is proud to be the only institution of higher education in Texas to be in the top ten in funded research, enrollment, national merit winners, and in endowment. We ain’t what we used to be – thank goodness -- and we are striving to be even better. A&M is proud to be in the real world. If someone gives you this signal while you are here, that is a very secret fraternity sign of aggies, it means we are going to make a lot of noise, we are going to have a lot of good fun, but we are going to work harder while we are doing it. We assume that is what this meeting is also, is to try to work hard. Now my job is to try to keep us going in the right direction. Our first speaker is Dr. Irv Rosenthal. Your material is described as background and as he is coming forward I would say that what he brings to this lecturn is a splendid background of education, of experience in the real world, and now a great responsibility in public service. I think that he is there for the appropriate leadoff batter in starting line-up and I am proud to turn the microphone over to Dr. Irv Rosenthal.

Dr. Rosenthal: A while ago Sam talked about the subject of setting goals, and that reminds me of an old saying about this inventor that was to meet with the director of research of a major sporting company and he couldn’t get in to see him. He kept waiting in the office and finally one day he drove thru the secretaries and got a hold of the Dr. Richards who is the director of research and said, "Dr. Richards I have been out here for a month trying to get you to listen to me. I have got an invention that will make your company a fortune and if you will agree to give me a reasonable royalty I will disclose it to you." And Dr. Richards said, "Look, we are always open to inventions/suggestions – what is your invention?" He says "I have got this solution for this major problem for golfers. You know, occasionally, golfers hit the ball and it goes off into the woods and you can’t find the ball. My invention is a golf ball that whistles when it is off the green." And Dr. Richards said, "That is tremendous, it will make a fortune! How do you do it?" He said, "Oh, that is your problem." What we have is that we can’t just set goals, we have to come to come up with means of reaching the goals. I am going to briefly outline the points in the paper, I don’t intend to repeat all of the material in the paper. The objectives of the conference I’ll briefly touch on, as well as the background very briefly. I am going to talk about the potential of national safety goals and objectives in the discussion. I am going to talk about examples of possible goals, and the bulk of the time and I am going to go around and ask for your input. So be prepared, because that is what the bulk of the time will be. Setting national safety goals is one thing, but we have to discuss and identify and agree on the means in which we are going to accomplish them, and most importantly, the metrics.

Let’s take a look at the background. If you take a look at the perspectives on chemical safety, before 1984 the public was focused largely on disease. My experiences on health and safety with the unfortunate epidemic of lung cancer in the early 1970’s, there was no major concern during the time that I was at Rohm & Haas about major process accidents prior to Bohpar, which was a drastic change in terms of US perspectives. What happened after Bohpar? As a result of stakeholder awareness and anxiety, we have accomplished a great deal. As a result of what has occurred since 1984 there have been tremendous increases in technical activities, books, articles, journals, tremendous improvements in competencies. If you were to talk about risk analysis in a chemical company prior to the late ‘80s, people would not have known where to begin, except in a few instances. Companies such as Exxon occasionally practiced it, but they never fully went to the end. There are all sorts of competencies that are now available and commonplace. You can buy them programs commercially. You can do consequence analysis just by using Jim Makris’ handy dandy guide books. Look up the number. There have been a whole load of legislative actions. Last with the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board with which I and Jerry are members are now faced with this background, the question of the character and the setting of potential goals. You can say an actual goal would be 10% annual reduction in releases. But in setting a goal what is our ability to measure where we are in progress. That is one of the points that is going to be discussed in the database. What is the use of setting a goal if you can’t measure it. There is a lot to be said for it, as Yogi Bera says, Even if you set the goal, if you can’t give it proof, you will be wrong. Should we focus on more pedestrian subgoals, and Sam alluded to this when talked about the question of going to a physician. You could go and talk to a physician about your heart condition and you could set a national goal of 10% reduction in ---. But what does that mean to set that goal? It really means that we have to set goals on the number of people who get regular exercise etc. Setting the goal on 10% reduction in accidents does nothing for you, in my opinion, unless you set operational goals on the factors that will cause this objective to be reached. And this is the thinking behind the National Pollution Prevention Goals. Jerry pointed out to me that the national P2 effort has as their object to develop a national pollution prevention index that represents trends in pollution prevention. It is composed of 5-10 tests, each of which can be measured. Sam and I are proposing that we go towards setting a set of operational subgoals which if realized will result in a reduction in the actual accident rate. I propose to spend the remainder of this meeting on is discussion of this improved national goals. There are seven of them. If you look in the paper there is an error, one of the errors that I put. On page 2 is we repeated the last goal twice.

Let’s take a look at these goals and see what we can do with them. The first goal is an improved national data system. I think we have to look at this goal and ask these questions. Do any of us know whether you have data that can show that the accident rate has gone down?

OSHA Answer: Do I have scientific data? No. Do I have data? Yes, I have data, because I live the data. There was not a single week that we didn’t investigate a fire explosion or chemical release and so I know we have some data, but it is not scientific data.

Irv: Does anyone else want to comment on whether there is data that will tell me what the incidents of chemical accidents have been?

Dave Willette: One of the problems that impresses with process safety is that as technical people we really try to make it too hard. It isn’t that hard. The data does exist that shows that if you do what you are supposed to do your numbers come down and your performance improves, you drop your insurance rate and all that good kind of stuff. We just tend to look for more to be there than what is really there. There are things that exist, data that does exist that show improvements in performance and lots of way to measure improvements and it can relate to the amount of effort that you put into place. What we are talking about here is doing business well and making sure that we are doing business properly and your cost will be much lower than it would be if you are doing business poorly. Nobody sets out to do business poorly, we just have taken the process safety area and somehow we have something different than doing business well. So that is where I come from.

Irv: Dave, I agree with everything that you say, but being on the technical end, I want a number that gives me the incidents of chemical accidents resulting in serious injury, death, or property damages above $50,000 for a defined population for every year from 1984 to the present.

Dave Willette: I totally agree with you on that, you have to have that data. But in terms of measuring how we are performing, if we plan to improve we have to predictive and we have to look on the predictive side of what are things that we can measure that will say how well we are operating so that at the end of the year we don’t have a lot of …

Irv: Dave, I am not being negative, I am just trying to point out a fact. Any members?

Jim Overman: If we are measuring in the number of accidents that have resulted in $50,000 losses and loss of life and serious injury we are very much measuring the wrong thing. Yes, I first would like to measure things that are… The problem is measuring things that don’t happen. That is what all of us in process safety struggle with, how do you get a measurement on something that doesn’t happen or hasn’t happened. But if we are looking at that kind of incident, I think that we are missing the boat because that is the tip of the iceberg. We need to be looking at something much broader than fatalities and major accidents and $50,000 losses. We need to be looking at drips. Our company has a fine corporate report of ANY release of >100,000 anything. Why, because we have got to get someplace below the tip of the iceberg or we are not going to have affect. I think that is what we have to work on. What are we going to define as the basis of measurement. Let’s not deal with fatalities and major incidents.

Irv: Jim, your point is well taken. I am just saying that we don’t even have those gross numbers and therefore to set a goal in reducing something that we don’t know what it is is very difficult.

Ray Skinner: I would like to make this one comment. I have talked about there being a significant decline in my opinion of the number of chemical fire explosions and releases that we have had to investigate. What I would really like to know is how many near miss incidents are occurring in these facilities that each have the potential to be much greater.

Irv: I feel that will need discussing.

John Susil: I certainly with what is being said. We can’t just continue to measure the fires and explosions because as Ray said fortunately we are not having as much of those and that is good. As far as what Jim said, we are doing the same thing. We are starting to count losses of containment. Bottom line is if you keep it in the pipes, you don’t have the affect. We are counting any injury, any environmental incident or fire explosion that resulted from a loss from the process. It doesn’t matter if it is one pound or 100 pounds. We are double counting, and counting that as process safety incident. Taking it one step further, we do have a scheme for measuring near misses and saying any release that could reasonably have been. Now the problem we have there with our own management is that it is one thing to look at losses of containment and measurement between sites, we don’t want them doing that with near misses, and it is a constant battle on my part because we are trying to encourage near miss reporting. So, we are having to count these separately so that they are not condemning one site because they have a ton of near misses. Actually, that is good. We want to be investigating those, that is where the problem comes in. But if we focus on losses of containment that at least in our own company, that is something that we can measure in many cases before the big event happens that can drive us towards not having those big events.

Jim Overman: Let me say that we have a corporate policy of saying what is quote unquote reportable. I get a call for every drip, leak or near drip and leak or potential drip and leak. We don’t record those for that very reason. We want people to be encouraged to let us know of the drips and near leaks so that we can root for commonality and decide if it is significant enough to do something with. Even though it doesn’t make that reportable because people are judged on what we report above that level and we don’t want that to happen.

Eboni McCray: One point that I would like to bring up which may not be obvious to the panel is that fire and explosions are big factors for loss of life and injury however the data shows that these are not the major causes for injuries and fatalities in our workplaces. In fact, contact with objects and equipment is the main cause of fatility and injuries, which leads me to believe that the actual work practices need to be overhauled. These safety practices need to be improved in order to prevent such things and certainly catastrophic accidents we do want to avoid, but if we can’t protect our employees on an every day basis around equipment that they use so much, then we really need to evaluate our own safety practices, not just our releases and those kinds of explosions and fires which cause loss of life and property loss.

Irv: What is interesting to me is that what I thought was a very simple question has touched the psyches of a lot of people. It is clear in the absence of a positive response on a number has evoked a lot of anxiety feelings.