• Alarm management

    2008 - Gas onshore processing

    As part of a major plant design, Andy's client was required to carry out an alarm review. Andy advised the control, process and operations engineers on the project of current good practices for process alarms, particularly regarding prioritisation, and assisted in the initial review. They commented that this would result in an alarm system that was quite different to those they had experienced in the past but quickly understood the logic and started to see the benefits.

    The end result was a relatively small number of high priority alarms, with more medium and low priorities, and a significant number assigned to 'journal.' This compared to an initial allocation where the vast majority of alarms were to be assigned high priority, which would have inevitably resulted in a high workload and distraction for operators. Although a significant undertaking, the project proved that an alarm review was achievable and manageable.

  • Analysis of an accident

    2011 - Gas

    A fire had occurred and an employee had been burnt.  The company had carried out their own investigation but asked Andy to give them his opinion.  Using causal trees and applying his knowledge of human factors he was able to ask some searching questions that highlighted organisational and management weaknesses.  As a result the client developed a new engineering standard for the equipment being used at the time of the accident; and reviewed training and audit programs.

  • Assessing a temporary change of staffing arrangements

    2012 - Gas

    The client had recently undergone changes that had reduced workload for site personnel, but had a project on-going that would eventually return it to previous levels. They had identified an opportunity to release personnel to join the project team, which was seen as a very good way of making sure operational experience was considered in design and commissioning.  Andy was asked to assess the proposed temporary reduction in staffing levels and to advise on how it could be managed.  He used the HSE Staffing Assessment method presented in CRR348/2001 as a framework for the study, which was very successful at demonstrating how the change could be implemented safely.

  • Assessing the design of equipment layout and controls

    2009 - Gas onshore processing

    Andy was required to visit newly constructed buildings housing electrical and control equipment.  His brief was to ensure the arrangements were appropriate to minimise risk of human error.  Andy identified that a number of cabinets were not positioned in a logical order, and that some labelling was confusing and ambiguous.  He was able to make practical and cost effective recommendations that were accepted by the engineering team as worthwhile and achievable.

  • Availability, reliability and maintainability (ARM) of a gas storage facility

    2006 - Gas Storage

    The client was completing the definition phase for a project to develop a gas storage facility using salt caverns. An ARM study was required to demonstrate the proposed plant arrangements would be suitable for the planned operating and commercial activity. Andy led the project with other consultants carrying out the modelling and analysis. He was required to communicate closely with the client to ensure the data used was appropriate and the results were appropriate to their needs. Andy was able to use his knowledge of the gas industry to interpret the modelling results and developing practical recommendations for achieving a reliable plant. He was also able to comment on human and managerial factors that would ultimately affect reliability once the plant was operational.

  • Control room ergonomics review

    2005 - Gas

    Operation of the client's major hazard site includes a significant number of actions performed from a central control room. Over the years the plant being operated has changed, new control equipment had been installed and the control room had been generally rearranged with little control. Andy was asked to evaluate the ergonomics. Andy's study involved observation, discussion and task analysis. His conclusion was that the basic physical environment (heating, lighting etc.) was adequate, but that there were significant concerns about how various control screens and communications are arranged. Andy made a number of suggestions for rearranging the current equipment to make improvements in the short term, and advised that more wide ranging improvements will be required in the future.

  • Critical task analysis

    2011 - Power/gas

    The client had identified that they needed to improve their management of process safety risks. A key element of this was human factors, with Critical Task Analysis being a defined as a deliverable for all facilities. Andy was tasked with assisting eight sites around the UK with identifying critical operations and maintenance tasks, carrying out task and human error analyses; and recommending improvements to the way human factors risks were being managed.  All personnel involved were impressed with the practicality of the methods Andy used and Andy's ability to identify areas for improvement.

  • Critical task identification

    2008 - Gas Terminal

    During a previous piece of work Andy commented that the client lacked a robust system for procedures, training and competence. As a result he was invited to return to site to develop a detailed plan of how to proceed.

    Andy proposed that a full list of operational tasks ranked according to criticality would be the best way to start and proceeded to develop this with site personnel. Using a modest number of assessment criteria, Andy was able to create a spreadsheet that automated the criticality ranking and also suggested the optimum solution for managing risks through use of detailed procedures, job aids, on the job training, more formal method of training and competency assessment.

    As a result the client had a very good idea of exactly what they needed to do to develop an effective system, and was able to demonstrate an approach based on process risk and human factors principles.

  • Critical task identification and analysis

    2010 - Gas storage

    The client operated two similar facilities, although one was several decades old and the other brand new. Given the high hazard of the operation it had been recognised that a task and human error analysis needed to be carried.  A two stage approach was used. The first activity was to identify the task performed on each facility and to use a simple scoring system to assign criticality.  This showed that a similar number of tasks were performed on each, but a higher proportion were considered to be critical on the older facility because of the higher degree of manual operation involved.  The second stage involved carrying out a task and criticality analysis for the most critical tasks.  This showed that on the older facility risks were higher than they should be because items put in place to assist some manual monitoring and operation were not as reliable as they needed to be.  For the new facility the analysis showed that the design process had failed to address human factors and that were a number of features of the plant that did not achieve current good practice.  For both facilities it was found that there was no standard set for procedures and other written instructions.

  • Developing a human factors integration plan for designing a new onshore and offshore facility

    2010 - Gas storage

    Following his involvement in a similar, but much smaller project Andy was commissioned to act as human factors expert for a large offshore gas storage facility with onshore processing. The main deliverable during early front end engineering was a human factors integration plan that identified the activities that needed to be performed in order to integrate human factors into the project design and operations phases, with specific activities incorporated into the overall Project Plan. Following discussions with all the major stakeholders it was agreed that human factors would be a line responsibility within the Engineering disciplines (similar to other safety aspects) so that effective integration into the design is ensured. Each discipline Lead would be accountable for addressing human factors within their area of responsibility.  Given the safety implications, the project’s safety function would be responsible for the overall monitoring of human factors implementation within the project. However, the specialist nature of some elements meant support and assistance would be required from a human factors specialist on a consultative basis. The plan itself was to be used to record significant human factors landmarks and references in its support of the required safety case (offshore) and safety report (onshore COMAH)

  • Developing a human factors integration plan for designing a new onshore facility

    2009 - Gas storage

    Andy was commissioned as the human factors expert during front end engineering for a new gas storage facility. His task was to ensure human factors was given sufficient consideration during the early stages of design, to develop plans for implementation during detailed design and to support the pre-construction safety report required under the COMAH regulations. He did this by developing a human factors integration plan that was consistent with industry good practice and the overall project. It was accepted by the client, regulator and engineering team as a useful method of making sure human factors received sufficient attention throughout the project.

  • Development of an in-house alarm policy, management and review procedures.

    2013 - Gas

    Andy was engaged to provide expert advice in the development of a suite of documents for managing process alarms.  He was able to make recommendations about how to improve the management of alarms to achieve latest standards, guidance and industry good practice; and to make the documents themselves more useable.

  • Fitness for service review

    2010 - Gas

    The client had recently experienced a significant incident, that came following a number of operational problems.  Prior to restarting the affected unit a fitness for service review was carried out to ensure that all known problems had been recognised and rectified.  Andy was asked to lead the human factors element of the review, which involved a review of incidents, task and error analysis of critical tasks and a formal HAZID assessment.  The result was a thorough documentation of the known issues and risks associated with the unit based on past experience, and a list of actions and recommendations.  The main finding was that the vast majority of issues were related to the unit's design, and relatively few were related to the softer human factors issues.

  • Human factors analysis of systems for evacuation, escape and rescue

    2007 - Gas, offshore

    Following a major incident on an offshore platform the client identified a number of human errors that had occurred during evacuation, escape and rescue.

    Andy was asked to carry out a human factors analysis of the systems in place, taking into account the events that occurred during this incident. He visited the platform in order to observe arrangements and talk to key personnel. He then completed a task and error analysis. From this Andy made a number of recommendations for improving procedures, training and equipment arrangements.

  • Human factors audit at a gas terminal

    2012 - Gas

    Andy was asked to carry out a human factors audit to determine how well the client was meeting the requirements of COMAH (Seveso II) regulations and industry best practice.  He developed a question set that covered the HSE's 'Top 10' human factors topics, interviewed a range of personnel and collected documentary evidence.  His audit showed that the company was managing most human factors issues very effectively, but sometimes the arrangements were not clearly defined.  He developed a list of actions that provided a plan for tightening up arrangements to ensure they remained sustainable over the longer-term.

  • Human factors during Front End Engineering Design (FEED)

    2007 - Gas, power

    The client was carrying out Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for a decarbonised fuel power station. The plant would reform natural gas to create hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which would be reinjected into depleted gas wells to achieve sequestration. Being a radically new concept, the client wanted to ensure all good practices were followed throughout the design, including human factors.

    Andy was given the role of identifying key aspects of the plants future operation. He identified the critical tasks, analysed them and specified requirements for plant design, control systems, user interfaces, procedures and training. The project contributed to the client's development of an internal human engineering standard and was nominated for a corporate award for safety innovation.

  • Human factors engineering at project 60% design review

    2007 - Gas onshore processing

    Having completed 60% of the design for a major new plant, a review of the three dimensional model of the plant was carried out. This was attended by representatives of the design contractor, construction contractor, client and future operator.

    Andy's role was to provide specialist human factors engineering input, advising on potential conflicts between the proposed plant layout and human factors good practice; and suggesting feasible solutions. Shell's Design and Engineering Practice (DEP) on human factors engineering was used throughout this project, and in fact this was one of the first major projects where this had been the case.

  • Human factors engineering for a major modification to an onshore gas terminal

    2014 - Gas

    Following on from his input into the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) stage of the project, Andy was commissioned to provide human factors input during detailed design of the modification.  This involved management of the human factors integration plan, as well providing consultancy support and performing audits and reviews.

  • Human factors engineering support during detailed design of a new onshore has facility

    2008 - Gas onshore processing

    Andy was appointed as Human Factors Engineering (HFE) lead on a major engineering project for the gas sector.  His role was to advise discipline engineers on requirements, review design and respond to questions.  He chaired the Project Ergonomics Team, maintained a detailed log of issues followed through to close, and documented key findings in the HFE design report.  Andy's involvement ensured HFE was an integral part of the project and that the final design complied with current standards and good practice.

  • Human factors engineering support during Front End Engineering Design (FEED) of a major upgrade to plant

    2010 - Gas

    The site had been in operation for many years and studies had shown that replacement of a number of major items of equipment would be required if it was going to achieve future safety, environmental and commercial requirements.  Andy was engaged to act as the human factors engineer within the design team.  His  role included identifying the aspects of the project that would have the greatest potential impact on human factors, to assist the design team in addressing the requirements and to review the design to ensure human factors requirements had been achieved.  A key element of the project was the adoption of a new control system, which included a new control room. Although this work was carried out at a very early stage in the project, Andy was able to influence the design in a number of areas, including the location of the control room and its basic layout; and he developed a detailed list of actions to be completed as the project progressed.