Will the terror continue?

Are the most recent terrorist events in schools a portent for industry? The tragedy of Littleton, CO, has sparked all the usual questions, accusations, and frustrations as people search for reasons, explanations, and understanding.

06/01/1999


Are the most recent terrorist events in schools a portent for industry?

The tragedy of Littleton, CO, has sparked all the usual questions, accusations, and frustrations as people search for reasons, explanations, and understanding. While there's no value in adding to the cacophony and media frenzy that have resulted, a couple of observations relating this event to industrial security may be appropriate.

First, many people believe that the terrorist attacks of the last few years are fostered in large measure by the violence youths and children are exposed to in our society. Video games, television entertainment, movies, news, and the general prevalence of anger, confrontation, "in your face" attitudes, and aggression are all frequently listed as contributing factors. If this belief is true -- and I'm inclined to think it is -- then we are likely to have problems for years to come, no matter what action is taken now.

The roots of our values and attitudes are planted in childhood. Researchers tell us that chronic exposure to violence can have serious developmental consequences for children, including truncated moral development and a pathological adaptation to violence. Thus, the seeds may have already been sown for violent acts that will be carried out 5, 10, or 15 yr from now. For many of our youngsters, even an immediate reduction of exposure to violence and aggression may be too late. The violent employee of 10 or 15 yr from now has already been indoctrinated into a world of aggression.

Second, many terrorist attacks are perpetrated from the inside. They are committed by employees, students, family members, visitors, or friends who have legitimate access to the institutions they attack. My impression is that most industrial security is based on preventing entry to facilities and areas by "unauthorized" people. The potential danger represented by people who have regular and authorized access to the plant may be neglected.

This is not a call to constant internal surveillance and the initiation of "Big Brother" practices. But it is a "heads up" warning that plant engineers should be alert to the possibilities of danger from within.

So, my observations are these: One, the seemingly random acts of terror that have become part of U.S. society are likely to continue for years to come. And, two, there may be more danger in our plants from persons who are known to us than from the stranger.





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me