Monthly Archives: August 2017
Gusher in the Gulf
The name “Valdez” made people think of the worst oil spill ever. No more. Now that dubious honor goes to Deep Water Horizon, an offshore drilling platform operated in the Gulf of Mexico.
On April 20, 2010, the rig exploded, killing 11 workers and opening a gusher that released millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf waters. What happened and why?
Floating on the Gulf waters, the Deep Water Horizon platform sent its drilling equipment 5,000 feet below the surface to reach the sea floor. Beyond that depth, it drilled down another 18,000 feet into the earth to reach the oil reserve. It’s an amazing feat of technology, one that has been compared to working on the surface of the moon.
On the sea floor, 5,000 feet below the water’s surface, sat the blowout preventer. It’s a failsafe device. Its purpose is to close off the well in an emergency. But the fail safe device failed.
A dead battery kept the blowout preventer from signaling the rising pressure. Worse, a leak in the hydraulic system stopped the valves from closing off the well and the main valve. The shear ram was not strong enough to crush the well pipe and stop the oil flow.
Barrel after barrel of oil fouled the Gulf waters while technicians struggled to find a solution. It’s a lesson for everyone about following procedures, staying aware, never cutting corners and protecting our precious environment.
That’s why on the job it’s vital for each of us to:
*Recycle. It saves money, reduces waste and lessons the landfill load.
*Properly handle all chemicals and hazardous materials. Even small amounts can be extremely dangerous. Be smart when you’re around them.
*Conserve energy and natural resources. Turn off lights, don’t waste water and look for other ways to conserve. Using resources is okay; abusing them isn’t.
The responsibility is ours. Taking that responsibility seriously and taking appropriate action can save resources and prevent terrible damage.
Thankfully, technicians did find a way to cap the oil flow from the Deep Water Horizon spill. But by then the damage to the Gulf coast and its waters had been done.
This earth is the only one we have and we have to take care of it. Always remember….
Let’s make it a requirement….
Protect The Environment!
*Copyright 2010 Harkins Safety B-270
Tools of the Trade
A brilliant craftsman, possessed of a singular ability never matched before or since, produced the world’s most sought after musical instruments. Can you guess his name? Here’s a hint: he created his musical masterpieces over 300 years ago!
He is the maker of the famed Stradivarius violins, Antonio Stradivari. But do you know what made Stradivari the master craftsman of the ages?
Maybe it was his training. Born in Cremona, Italy, he apprenticed with noted instrument maker Nicolo Amati. As a testament to his skill, Stradivari was permitted to make instruments under his own label while still a student.
Or perhaps it was the wood Stradivari chose for his instruments. It is said that he scoured the forests for the perfect tree with the right look and feel and most important the right tone when the master tapped it while listening with his discerning ear.
Or maybe it was the tools he used that made Stradivari the best. As a European Master, Stradivari used only hand tools-a dizzying variety of chisels, gouges, planes, knives, saws and scrapers in precisely graduated sizes. Some remove large curls of wood as the craftsman rough-cuts and shaves, while others slice away the smallest slivers in precise carving actions. Again and again, Stradivari would “tap tune” the instrument and select the right tool to remove tiny sections of wood until the tone was perfect.
The tools themselves are works of art, their handles worn by the master’s grasp over a lifetime of dedication. They are preserved to this day in the Stradivarian Museum in Cremona, Italy.
Of course the tools that we use in our daily work may not be the implements of the artisan, but they are no less important to getting the job done. That’s why we should always treat them with respect, using them only for their intended application. We should always keep them well maintained and in good working order. Doing so ensures our safety and the effectiveness of the tool itself, a win-win situation that makes our work easier.
While the work of master Stradivari remains a mystery- no one knows for certain why his violins produce the sweetest music-one thing is sure. The tools we use save time and effort, but they do presents hazards. Using them properly helps secure our safety, so that at the end of the day, we can leave work whistling a carefree tune.
Choose the Right Tool….
Use it the Right Way
*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety B-232