CSB board members and staff are saddened to learn of the death of the one of the world’s greatest authorities on chemical process safety, Dr. Trevor Kletz. Starting as a research chemist in the United Kingdom, Dr. Kletz’s career in industry established him as an expert in chemical process safety, safety culture, and as an advocate – indeed the father of – the concept of inherently safer technology and processes. One of his seminal papers was entitled, “What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak.” His teachings on accident investigations refocused the emphasis from individual lapses to systems failures and safer design. These concepts fostered a revolution in modern safety management thinking.
After retiring in 1982, Dr. Kletz established a second career as an author, speaker and academic. He served in recent years as adjunct professor of the Texas A&M University and Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University in the UK. We felt particularly attached to the work of Dr. Kletz as his commentary – excerpted from a CSB interview with him -- is featured prominently in our 2008 CSB safety video, “Anatomy of a Disaster,” which tells the story of the BP Texas City refinery accident in 2005 that killed 15 workers and injured 180 others.