This month is the 30 year anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster. And, as to be expected, many people have published articles, blogs and web pages to do with that event, and the lessons that it continues to teach us. But there is an earlier maritime event which probably had a greater impact in its day than did Piper Alpha in ours. And that event was the sinking of the Titanic. (The image at the head of this post is actually of the Great Eastern, for reasons we discuss below.)
A process safety expert and his wife went on a cruise. Part of the cruise included a tour of the ship’s impressive galley and food-serving facilities. The tour was led by one of the ship’s sous chefs.
The process safety expert realized that he was looking at a small chemical plant. In front of him were processes that involved chemical reactions, heat exchange and moderately high pressures. So he naturally started to ask the sous chef HAZOP-style questions on the following lines.
Q: Do you use natural gas for cooking?