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Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt

Principal, Bluefield Process Safety, LLC

Connect with Mike Schmidt on LinkedIn

About the author:

Mike Schmidt and the team he works with at Bluefield Process Safety provide safety lifecycle consulting to the chemical process industries, both by working with industrial and academic clients, and by training others to do this work.  With a career in the CPI that began in 1977 with Union Carbide, Mike was profoundly impacted by the 1984 tragedy in Bhopal and has been working on process safety ever since.  Mike founded Bluefield Process Safety in 2008 because there are simply not enough resources available to help with process safety.  Since 2009, he has also been on the faculty at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri, where he teaches graduate courses on safety engineering and process risk management, training almost a hundred engineering students every year.

Mike frequently publishes and presents article and papers on process safety, particularly in the areas of Layer of Protections Analysis, Risk Tolerance Criteria, and Safety Instrumented System design.  Most recently, he coauthored “Auditing IPLs – Using Safety Critical Functions Manuals,” which was published in Process Safety Progress.

Posts by Mike Schmidt

Learning from Experience: Near Misses

Posted on January 10th, 2017 in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” Vernon Law

My community was just hit with the first winter storm of the season. Freezing rain coated everything, including the roads, which made driving treacherous.  Continue reading “Learning from Experience: Near Misses” »

Do You Need a Hero? Emergency Action Plans

Posted on December 8th, 2016 in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence


“We all need our heroes, not just in time of chaos but also in the time of peace.”  Paul Bamikole

Being a firefighter is about as safe as any typical job in the United States.  Continue reading “Do You Need a Hero? Emergency Action Plans” »

Meteors and Black Swans: Worst Case Scenarios

Posted on November 10th, 2016 in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.” Randy Pausch

We really need to stop talking about “worst-case scenarios” when we do a process hazard analysis (PHA) or a quantitative risk assessment (QRA). It’s a nonsense term.  More often than not, it is an obstacle to good analysis, not an aid. Continue reading “Meteors and Black Swans: Worst Case Scenarios” »

Deepwater Horizon: Normalization of Deviance

Posted on October 14th, 2016 in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence

“Hope is not a strategy” – Mike Williams, as portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in Deepwater Horizon.

I just saw Deepwater Horizon with my wife. Before going, I stumbled across a movie review that called it a “poor man’s Towering Inferno.” I’m not sure what I was expecting from the movie, but I didn’t expect to be in tears at the end. Continue reading “Deepwater Horizon: Normalization of Deviance” »

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