The July Programs may be summarized as follows:
The program for the July 12 meeting was a panel discussion on the Gulf Oil Disaster. Panelists were Ken Barry, Dick Berry and Robert D. Hatcher, Jr., Ph.D., P.G. UT Distinguished Scientist and Professor Tectonics and Structural Geology.
On July 19, 2010, Bob Scott, a retired Chemical Engineer who has designed a methyl isocyanate storage facility, discussed the methyl isocyanate tragedy in Bhopal , India in 1984 and it’s relationship to other industrial accidents. The Bhopal disaster occurred 26 years ago but it is still an active topic with the conviction in June (talk about delayed justice) of six Union Carbide managers in India. There is currently some tension between India and the United States over the extradition of the former president of Union Carbide in the United States. Bob discussed several accidents to
look at their similarities. Bob related how a miscommunication had once caused him to kill a lot of fish. He described how an engineer was overruled in the Challenger disaster. He described how the Three Mile Island reactor was being operated with the backup cooling system out of operation and the night shift operator turning off the cooling water to the reactor to prevent damage to the cooling water pump. The BP oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico essentially resulted from reliance on the blowout preventer in place of using more expensive but safer operating procedures. Bob designed a methyl isocyanate storage tank in about 1970 based on information from Union Carbide. When he read about
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the Bhopal tragedy the things that most caught his attention were the safety features that were not operating and the failure of the plant people to reset the high temperature alarm when they stopped refrigerating their methyl isocyanate storage tank.
On July 26, 2010, Damon Falconier, AIA (American Institute of Architects) discussed the ADA(Americans With Disability Act) compliance issues. Damon Falconier, NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) is a LEED certified architect, President and Principal Architect of Falconier Architecture. The presentation was serendipitously on the 20th anniversary of the ADA. The ADA has made a big difference in design of new buildings and retrofitting of older buildings. There are guidelines for minimum requirements for accessible sites and accessible buildings, protruding objects, ground and floor surfaces, parking and passenger loading areas, curb ramps, ramps, stairs and elevators. A disconcerting disclosure was that the enforcement of the act is left to individuals to litigate infractions. This has resulted in lawyers who look for violations and then file a lawsuit rather than try to get voluntary compliance.