The challenge of simplifying things

Reducing HFCs with the world’s most successful environmental treaty from CIFF on Vimeo.

I really like this video, it makes the issue a lot simpler, but there is still the challenge and the pressure from a lot who just doesn’t want to change.


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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ecotourism, Environmental Audit, GHG Mitigation Effort, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Biggest task not fully understood


Nobody really understood what I was doing from July to December 2015. I just got back from my maternity leave not really wanting to do management system audits. I was extremely frustrated, nothing is happening, but since January 2015, I have been reviewing documents, procedures, guidelines, contractual requirements on the health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) for the fabrication of seventeen (17) modules for delivery to the Yamal LNG project. I was also locally managing a contractual arrangement with BV Russia.

Yes, our boss announced via email, it will be our biggest project, but as appointed QHSE, I didn’t expect I would have a significant role in it but I ended up working with a new set of people, who are extremely under pressure to deliver  the critical timelines posed by Yamgaz.  The 17 was reduced to 5, Compressor A, Compressor B, Flare 1, Flare 2 and Inlet Module. When, I saw that flare in youtube, yes, that flare was fabricated in the Philippines, made by Filipino welders and fabricators in their own country.  A certain sense of pride, being part of it. But, it didn’t end well for AG&P.

In the end, I just cried, I wish I could do more, I did my best, that’s all I could do.  Maybe it was just the post-partum hormones, or not getting along with the back-office people in Manila, who just wants to get over and done with the project, if its big, let it go. I also have to deal with the attitude of my former certification colleagues who had no idea what I was working on, as if I was just wasting my time for Yamal LNG, spending so much time at the AG&P yard in Batangas without recognizing my time & expense sheet. Why go there, there is an administrative assistant on-site, as if TQR/HSE can be done administratively.

This is not true when you are working on a project that is extremely risky, HSE wise and contractually.  Each pipe, nut, bolt has to comply with quality and safety standards. I was not prepared, but I just carried the name BV and did the best I could offer. So many concerns, at times, I’m the only female in the room and I was also lactating.

Doing my TQR/HSE task was crazy for Yamgaz, I have no experience handling QHSE at that scale, two (2) fatalities in Batam, guys sleeping on the job, oil spills, chemical waste management and indoor air quality in painting, measuring devices not calibrated or are completely lost. Competence management of all inspectors, carbon reporting. Crazy, I did it all.

Learnings from the past

The project forced me to become highly technical with a strong engineering perspective.  I had to learn categories of NDT, BGAS, CSWIP, NACE, API, etc. I  had to familiarize myself with the CU-TR, GOST, EAC, whatever….this is quality, this is safety. I do not think I will ever have that experience again, and I am grateful and thankful for being challenged with it, I was looking for experience and I got it.

I may be strange to some people, but I am totally normal to the oil & gas industry, to a certain degree competent. Doing development work particularly on technology transfer is a lot easier, but there are challenges, like not being able to elicit the support of policy makers, thinking something is not feasible or unsafe. At times, it is just political.





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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management System, Pollution Control, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment

Unsafe acts blasts from the past

I could not believe I’m back here again, but more safe and more hi-tech. Its stressful organizing hands-on training, no this is not my first time, but my second. The last one was in 2010, still working at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) where I  was fortunate enough to manage capacity building projects on energy  and climate change  from the Philippine Council for Industry and Emerging Energy Research of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCIEERD) which was Methane to Markets (M2M) back then and  of course with the Department of Energy (DOE) whom I now partner with the Cool Contributions fighting Climate Change project.

What was the difference? Basically, health and safety and we’re more serious about it. I have so many frustrations working for BV not really using my training on occupational health and safety, but I was so fortunate that I can finally use whatever training I have had on safety and health on fighting climate change. Sometimes, things are just a perfect fit, though it can be a bit stressful…when its only you who know and not much contribution from others, not really getting their hands dirty. The video above was so dirty working on an anaerobic biodigester in a microscale pig-farm and so rowdy and noisy. May be good for learning but not really the best conditions for a technical hands-on training.

Below is my recent assignment for GIZ, but the focus was on hydrocarbon air conditioners.  I have no idea why we had a very rowdy crowd up there, because I was young and rowdy myself, not really taking safety seriously…

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, GHG Mitigation Effort, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Summer

Looking back, as good as what you know


Tried the free media offered by wordpress. I still feel that I am not ready for or or whatever, I’m simply happy getting this blog going and not really making money out of it.  So I chose a woodworker. Not in the biblical or religious sense where it is widely known that Jesus and his father Joseph are wood workers in terms of occupation.  But I need as much spiritual advise as I go through my day to day challenges.

Currently, I’m employed on a project basis as a senior advisor or commonly known as a technical consultant for GIZ, a German  development organization for a couple of projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Though my project is on climate change policy, health and safety has been very much highlighted in our work in the Philippines. I, for one have been working more on safety than in health.  To compensate, I am taking occupational health courses as the University of the Philippines in Manila, slowly  I will get another masters degree in a couple of years. I really just want to enjoy myself and learn, because sometimes its very difficult to to connect theory and practice.

It has been truly helpful to know something technical about health given the pressures of some corporate and political entities that have been trying to a put a stop on our efforts and using safety and health as a reason to delay low carbon technologies.  However, the additional knowledge on the chronic toxicity impacts of conventional chemicals I learned from occupational health has been very helpful in establishing a concrete basis for justifying the safety of low emission alternatives, strangely.

Yesterday, we had a session on occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS), strangely I was in a position different from my classmates, I used to be an auditor. Of course, as much as possible, I have to keep quiet, but I just remembered one unforgettable case in my HSE auditing where I saw a problem but could not report, why? I do not think no one in the audit team is competent enough to establish an issue concretely with adequate scientific and legal basis, even I questioned my level of knowledge to point out a problem with medical complexity.

Here is the case, wood dust is a known human carcinogen, backed up with robust epidemiological data that establishes a link with nasopharyngeal cancer  among woodworkers. I know people who have suffered and died from it, Saint Ezekiel Moreno, our town’s  parish priest at the turn of the 19th century (OK!) or Saint Joseph, father of Jesus.  Wow, retrospective cohorts!

A couple years back, I have seen case reports in an HSE audit in a furniture factory commissioned by a multilateral financial development agency.  Seven cases of nasal, nasopharyngeal and lung cancers with nasal malignancies of workers who have worked from 10 to 20 years in the company.  So what do I do? None, I will only be called a weirdo by my audit teammates who have mediocre knowledge on occupational epidemiology, remove it from my notes and move on. It was a highly frustrating situation. It was only yesterday when I remembered it.  I am more than that, thank you Lord!

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Filed under Career Notes, Environmental Management System, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Random, Sustainability

Eureka Moment while in a Toxic Daze

Its Good Friday and in my free time, I was curious enough to read a copy of Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology.  Me, reading a medical, pharmacological book (purposively bad grammar)? Because it will soon be a requirement next semester when I take up Industrial Toxicology. I am even thinking twice about taking the course due to the expected workload in C4 because like Epidemiology 201, it will take significant amount of effort to reach a marginal grade. As much as possible, I would like to approach the upcoming challenge with some degree of preparation and take a mindset of hands-on application and experience which I have gained over some years of audit experience and of course the current task on working for C4.  It is just a matter of managing your time and the response of your brain to the load of information yet to come.

It is hard not put advocacy in the picture but things have become way too deep beyond the usual scope of climate policy, which I also think is too broad.  Toxicology is similarly a very broad science and will require a certain level of specialization, and I think such specialization will also be required in working on climate change.  I am very thankful that I am given an opportunity to use  chemical management in climate policy while working in C4, I tried to make that connection as early as possible, linking RA6969, the Philippine counterpart to the US EPA Superfund to a possible legal basis for a local F-gas control policy. Having some toxicology background may be of help in assisting the DENR in a future regulation through a chemical control order.

There is also a greater understanding that people generally value health impacts more than environmental impacts. It will take a while before impacts to the climate may be felt while losing a love one due to a toxic response is far more painful and can provide more value and importance.  Safety is not only about flammability,  but toxicity from acute to chronic may be of far more importance.



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Basking on the glow wire…safety testing to mitigate climate change

My mind is overloaded at the moment, completing reports and documentation of past activities for 2017. I welcome 2018 with a lot more things to do, including a pending proposal on a laboratory safety test that is currently  glowing the wires in my brain cells.

The goal is to reduce cost while providing an empirical basis for a risk assessment of low GWP refrigerant alternatives. I need to do more research to prove out a point.  We can always use review of literature from secondary data but that defeats the point of local capacity development in support of local policy and regulation. Maybe this is way below my priority list, as exciting as it may look.

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Consensus is explosive

I strongly believe in the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)  as a means of Hazard Communication to properly inform consumers and end users of the hazards related to the chemicals they use.

ALL chemicals are toxic and hazardous depending on the concentration, the condition it is used and the acts of the end user towards that chemical. Water whose chemical name is H2O has claimed lives through its volume or have drowned persons and damaged properties.

I went back to graduate school in 2016 to study occupational health and industrial hygiene to know more, because I find my skill on OHSAS 18001 too shallow. It is my own intent and my own effort to do so and not a corporate interest  or regulatory requirement.  Being involved in climate change mitigation particularly F-gas control was an added bonus and I have started to love what I do,  until I have to work on my indicator on standards development for low GWP refrigerants for my own country.

IEC 60335-2-24 was easy, no complications, HFC 134a is generally expected to be replaced by HC 600a, extremely low GWP, no ODP, unpatented, natural but then… IEC 60335-2-40 came with the extremely influential global chemical companies even, supported by some development organizations.

Latest J7 pro 610Patents are at stake for Methylene fluoride, Hydrofluorolefins, and other synthetically developed substances and alternatives. I didn’t expect that it would come to this point that changes in a specific hazard symbol are proposed, overtaking and disregarding the GHS.  All chemicals are hazardous regardless of its flammability.  Remember flammability is not the only concern and that speck of light is not part of the globally accepted symbols for hazard communication. ghs-pictograms2-700x694 It was proposed that work on the specific product comes first before work on the globally harmonized system? Because another standard had mentioned, the product standard would be the utmost priority over vertical standards. Or is it a means to mask the actual hazard of a substance.  This is totally unacceptable, Yet we are being forced by corporate interests to be in unsafe conditions and perform unsafe acts by downgrading hazard communication symbols to stupidity.


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