Sunday, 5 September 2010

Garlic Bread and Safe Flying

An interesting job last week tracking down the source of heavy fat contamination of effluent in a business park containing a garlic bread factory, and figuring out what to do about it. As is so often the case, by the time I visited, several people and their contractors had had a go at solving some of the knock-on effects, but no-one had got to the bottom of the problem, or monitored whether their "fixes" had actually worked.

As it turned out, the client was amenable to reasonable argument, but I have to admit my heart sank when he told me before going to site that "we know what the problem is, we just want to discuss what to do about it". If you really know what the problem is, knowing what to do about it is usually quite obvious, and dealing with a fixed idea in the client's mind can often lead to upsets.

So I have a fair idea what the problem probably is (something different from what the client thought, and in part to do with the amateur fixes already tried). Now I get a bit of sampling and lab analysis done to check I am correct before spending any more of the client's money.

I am preparing a course on environmental monitoring in the oil and gas industry, and came across a document allowing rational safety evaluation of airlines produced by an industry body, which you can see here. Call me chicken, but I don't like to fly with the crashier outfits, and this will allow me to point to an industry standard to justify my insistence of only flying with the safer companies.