Re: [SystemSafety] NYTimes: The Next Accident Awaits

Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:29:29 +0100

USA should then apply the conclusions of the Baker report to itself, at the level of the national culture. But this would probably be a change of paradigm.

My opinion is that in USA, at the level of the average person in the street, global means federal, international means that one considers Canada, and worldwide means that one would add Mexico on the top.

On another hand there are strong cultural reluctances to adopt concepts coming from outside, with probably some subconscious reluctances against Europe. The low-profile alignment on international standards (e.g. IS84 vs IEC 61511) is in my opinion symptomatic of such issues, although in this case there are also other points.

This can easily be understood from a historical perspective, but it doesn't help beyond. Also the US industry has long benefited from the availability of empty space easing the installation of dangerous plants far from cities, thus decreasing the sensitivity to risk as the consequences of accidents on citizens remained often mitigated by the distance. The approach to individual freedom and responsibility collides also somewhat with the European approach where citizens are less keen to accept that the governments don't take protective measures, even at the cost of some freedom for the industrial companies.

The USA have obviously the same level of competence as major European countries as far as safety is concerned. I have no doubt that if a change in paradigm occurred, these competencies would be immediately available and operational.

All this should not hide the cynicism of worldwide companies, able to achieve excellent safety objectives when formally required (as in Europe), but "relaxing" the engineering standards very quickly according to the local regulatory environment ...

Unfortunately, and maybe as a trivial European, I have a tendency to think that only enforcement can achieve safety goals against financial pressure.

Bertrand Ricque
Program Manager
Optronics and Defence Division
Sights Program
Mob : +33 6 87 47 84 64
Tel : +33 1 59 11 96 82

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 11:05 PM To: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Subject: [SystemSafety] NYTimes: The Next Accident Awaits

A worthy opinion piece from the Chair of the US Chemical Safety Board. Note his suggestion that identifying hazards and mitigation is just well-established best practice. I can say from experience that it is not yet in Europe in all industries with safety aspects, even though he holds Europe up as having a factor of three fewer chemical accidents as the US.

NYT abstract: Safety rules over hazardous chemicals must be tightened.


Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, University of Bielefeld and Causalis Limited _______________________________________________
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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Thu Jan 30 2014 - 15:29:40 CET

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