Trevor Kletz

Trevor Kletz

Dr. Trevor Kletz has recently passed away at the age of 91. Dr. Kletz was responsible for saving thousands of lives in his role as a safety adviser and renowned academic in high-risk industries such as petrochemicals, energy production and pharmaceuticals. His writings on human error and accident investigation refocused industry’s emphasis away from individual lapses to systems failures and safer design. These concepts fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.

Known throughout the process industries as a gifted communicator on safety matters, Dr. Kletz has wide knowledge of both practice and theory. He joined Imperial Chemical Industries after graduating as a chemist and spent eight years in research, sixteen in production management, and the last fourteen as safety advisor to the Petrochemicals Division. On retiring from ICI after 38 years of service, he joined Loughborough University, at first full-time and then from 1986 as a Visiting Fellow. He has written ten books, more than 100 papers, and over 300 articles on process safety and loss prevention.He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Chemical Engineers, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is an adjunct professor of the Texas A&M University Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering.

Whilst Dr Kletz made these comments many years ago, it is a testament to their powerful substance that they remain just as relevant in 2013.

“There’s an old saying that if you think safety is expensive, try an accident. Accidents cost a lot of money. And, not only in damage to plant and in claims for injury, but also in the loss of the company’s reputation.”– Dr Trevor Kletz

“For a long time, people were saying that most accidents were due to human error and this is true in a sense but it’s not very helpful. It’s a bit like saying that falls are due to gravity.” Dr Trevor Kletz

Trevor Kletz

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KletzTrevor’s Corner

Dr. Kletz was responsible for saving thousands of lives in his role as a safety adviser and renowned academic in high-risk industries such as petrochemicals, energy production and pharmaceuticals. His writings on human error and accident investigation refocused industry’s emphasis away from individual lapses to systems failures and safer design. These concepts fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.to systems failures and safer design. These concepts fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking

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KletzICI Safety Newsletters

“In 1968, following ten years in which ICI’s fatal accident rate had worsened, I was appointed a safety adviser to the Heavy Organic Chemicals (later Petrochemicals) Division with responsibility for improving what we now call process safety. In 1968 I sent copies of No 1 to about 30 colleagues. Gradually, over the next fourteen years, the circulation and contents grew spontaneously. I did not advertise it, but added people to the circulation list at their request. By the mid-1970s, the circulation was several thousand, including all ICI Divisions, many outside companies, universities and the Health and Safety Executive. The Newsletters were not intended primarily for safety experts but for all those involved in design, operations, maintenance and construction, at all levels but especially at the professional level. In the period covered by the Newsletters (1968-1983), I wrote everything in the Newsletters myself except for the engineering articles in the later issues most of which were written by Harland Frank, an outstanding engineer. After I retired from ICI in 1982 the Newsletters continued for 18 months, written by my successor, Alan Rimmer, and were then abandoned when he retired.” – Trevor Kletz

[NOTE: MKOPSC, with Dr. Kletz’s permission and blessing, have slightly modified his newsletters with illustrations.]

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