Andy’s Almanac on Accidents

Andy’s Almanac on Accidents

By | April 16, 2021

For over four decades, Andy Bartlett, a Sphera solution consultant for Operational Risk Management, has been helping companies in hazardous industries keep their people, assets and, ultimately, reputation safe. Let’s just say he’s seen some things along the way. Learn more about Andy’s career and his perspective on what caused or likely caused historic incidents as he discusses accidents and safety measures, only on the SpheraNOW podcast.


Join Andy Bartlett, Sphera’s solution consultant for operational risk management, and Sphera product marketing manager Alex Studd for a discussion on knowledge transfer and best practice sharing in the tenth installment of Andy’s Almanac.



Andy Bartlett returns to the SpheraNOW podcast to discuss hazardous area management and its implications for business with Alex Studd, one of Sphera’s product marketers.



To err is human, but to err working in a hazardous industry could be downright dangerous. Andy Bartlett explains the human factors part of the Operational Risk Management equation.



Andy Bartlett is back to discuss Swiss cheese in the Digital Age, and ways current software and technology could have helped prevent one of the most well-known refinery incidents in history.



For World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Andy Bartlett discusses a persistent problem that has led to countless incidents: shift handovers.



One of the most common methods of reducing process safety risk is the so-called “Swiss cheese” model. Since no organization is without risk, the model serves as a barrier method of covering up any “holes” found throughout the system that could lead to a risk pathway developing. In areas that are susceptible to major storms, like the Gulf Coast, the Swiss cheese model could be used to help organizations defend themselves against natural disasters.



After working with companies for decades, Andy has seen some patterns when it comes to incidents in hazardous industries related to loss of containment, ignition, fire explosion … and information silos. Not being able to easily share information throughout an organization can lead to incidents and near-misses. So how did poor communication contribute to the 2005 Buncefield oil storage incident, which caused the largest fire in Europe since World War II?



In the early 2000s, key performance indicators (KPIs) for safety were evolving, and Andy was there to help companies see the “big picture” rather than bits and pieces. He also spent lots of time in Saudi Arabia at the time. In this episode, Andy details how a tank cleaning before a turnaround turned into a fire because it hadn’t been done in 10 years, and Andy explains how today’s software could have helped prevent past incidents.



Andy describes more incidents from earlier in his career, including an incident he heard about from one of his colleagues involving an asphyxiant that is not for the faint of heart as well as an explosion that led to the deaths of two security people. “A lot of things I’d seen done I didn’t think were possible,” he said. There were “a lot of things I’d seen done that I would never want to do again.”



In the first installment of “Andy’s Almanac on Accidents,” Andy Bartlett discusses incidents from early in his career, including the time he accidentally burned some of the skin off his own hands after water with chemicals in it got into his gauntlets. “Every time you look at incidents, you learn things,” he said. You can, too.


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