• Safety Procedures that Work


    Special Report for Indicator Tips & Advice - Health & Safety

    Available to purchase here

  • Accident Avoidance


    Special Report for Indicator Tips & Advice - Health & Safety

    Available to purchase here

    The aim of health and safety is to prevent staff being harmed by business activities.  Whilst the health element can be concerned with normal working activities, the safety element is primarily aimed at preventing events that cause harm in the shorter term.  We usually call these events accidents.

    The best way of achieve safety is to prevent accidents.  To do this we need to understand their causes and what can be done to avoid them.  Also, by understanding how harm is caused by events, we can prevent incidents (with no consequence) becoming accidents (causing harm).

    Companies can learn a lot by investigating and analysing their own accidents.  This can be a time consuming and complex activity, but with many rewards.  However, companies have so few really significant accidents that the actual amount of information they have at any time that can help them avoid accidents is fairly limited.

    However, there is a wealth of readily available information regarding the causes accidents.  It’s contained in reports of major accidents.  These are the events that typically result in multiple fatalities and major injuries, harm to the environment and/or significant disruption to business.  The question is, how useful is the learning from these events for more “normal” business?

  • Safe staffing arrangements - applying the user guide


    Presented at seminar titled 'Workload, organisational change and stress'

    Energy Institute, London

  • Safe staffing arrangements - user guide for CRR348/2001 methodology


    Guidance Document -available here

    Energy Institute

    Co-authors P Waite and A Gait

    The user guide relates to Contract Research Report CRR348/2001 from the Health and Safety Executive Assessing the safety of staffing arrangements for process operations in the chemical and allied industries

    The Energy Institute launched in April 2004 guidance setting out a best practice approach to the CRR348/2001 methodology that captures learnings from its use. In addition, the user guide sets out supplementary guidance on how best to apply the CRR348/2001 methodology to automated plant and/or equipment.

  • Different Types of supervision and the Impact on Safety in the Chemical and Allied Industries


    Health and Safety Executive Research Report RR292

    Co-authors A Gait and P Waite

  • Improving shift handover & maximising its value to the business


    Loss Prevention Bulletin issue 204

    Also, IChemE Hazards XX Conference, Manchester(April 2008)

    Co-author B Pacitti of Infotechnics

     Recent accidents at Buncefield and Texas City have illustrated how poor shift handover can contribute to major accidents.  This is not a new discovery, but given the ever greater interest in human factors, it is one that is finally getting some attention.

    Shift handover is a complex, high risk activity that is performed very frequently.  Normally we would try to ‘engineer out’ high risk frequent tasks, or at least automate them to minimise the likelihood of error.  However, this is not an option for shift handover.

    There are two complimentary approaches that can be used to improve shift handover.  The first is to improve the handover process by supporting the people involved with better systems, tools and competencies.  The second is to change perceptions by maximising the value of the information collected as part of the handover process and increasing its use.  This creates additional stakeholders in the process and subsequently ensures a more effective feedback cycle regarding the quality of handover.

    This paper will examine the human factors involved in shift handover.  Also, it will illustrate that information about minor incidents, human errors and reliability issues is often collected; and will demonstrate how this can be collected and disseminated effectively and efficiently.

  • Costs of compliance with health and safety regulations in SME's


    Health and Safety Executive Research Report RR174

    Co-authors R Lancaster, R Ward, P Talbot

  • Safety report regime - evaluating the impact on new entrants to COMAH


    Health and Safety Executive Research Report RR092

    Co-author P Waite

    Concerns the 'softer' issues of COMAH such as the impact of writing a safety report and the views and perceptions of duty holders. A group of new entrants to COMAH were identified as the ideal 'target' group, with two counterfactual groups chosen. Questionnaires were sent to 303 establishments, the response rate was 50%, with 66% for the target group. 43 interviews were also carried out. 90% of establishments had made some changes to their arrangements for major accident hazards as a result of COMAH. 55% commented that without COMAH these changes would not have happened, or would have taken much longer. Suggests that although writing a safety report helps to systematically identify where changes are needed and target changes it can conversely lead to delays in implementing changes to the way safety is managed. The financial impact of COMAH on industry has been significant, , and the judgement as to whether this represents value for money is finely balanced.

  • Human factors aspects of remote operation in process plants


    Health and Safety Executive Contract Research Report CRR 2002/432

    Co-authors J Henderson, K Wright

    Following the 1999 'competition of ideas' process, Human Reliability Associates (HRA) was commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out a study of human factors aspects of remote operation in process plants. HRA developed a proposal that consisted of two phases of work. The first phase, described in this report, was a survey of current practices in industry. The second, which has not yet been commissioned, was to involve the application of the survey results to develop a tool to assist companies introducing remote operation and to audit existing operations.

    Download from HSE

  • The Sources of Data for use in Human Factors Studies in the Process Industry


    PhD Thesis

    Edinburgh University


    The desire for continuous improvement in safety performance has lead the process industry to a situation where the main contribution to accident causation is the actions of people rather than equipment failure. Models of human behaviour and accident causation, and risk assessment techniques aim to improve safety by reducing human error rates. These models require appropriate data and this thesis examines sources of information that could be used to provide accurate data for use in human factors studies.

    Accident reporting systems are widely used by the process industry to record events resulting in loss. A survey of the systems used by companies has been carried out. This found that some of the information recorded in accident reports was relevant to human factors studies although it was generally limited to details of the behaviour of people “at the sharp end.” Little consideration had been given to the actions of people working away from the plant or of the factors that affect human performance.

    Near miss reporting systems are now used by most companies in the process industry to increase the number of incidents from which they can learn about their safety performance. Most systems lack maturity and at present the provision of data for use in human factors studies is poor. This thesis describes studies carried out to determine the potential of near miss reporting systems to provide appropriate data. It was found that people find it difficult to determine what events and consequences might have happened because there is a lack of evidence. Simple risk assessment based on what people do, the hazards involved and overall unit objectives has been used to provide the required evidence. This has resulted in more effective human factors assessment. Near miss reporting has great potential to provide data for use in human factors studies but it should be considered as a living risk assessment exercise rather than an extension to accident reporting.

    Investigation allows an in-depth analysis of incidents to be carried out. A review of the techniques developed to aid investigations has shown that most guide investigators to uncover and record root causes. A study of actual incident investigation reports has shown that human factors problems are considered in reasonable detail although formal techniques are rarely used. Only major accident inquiries, however, are able or willing to identify management and cultural failures so that changes can be made that will lead to wide-ranging improvement to overall safety performance.

    Companies operating continuous process require people to work shifts. Log books and handover reports are used to pass on important information about past and future activities. A survey of log books and handover reports was carried out. The contents included; information about routine and non-routine tasks, descriptions of problems experienced, and records of human errors and unreported incidents. These could provide much data useful for use in human factors studies and may actually provide a mechanism for improved incident reporting.

    Systems currently used in the process industry to report and record events have been examined. Although companies in the process industry rarely use these sources of information in assessing human factors these existing systems have all been shown to have the potential to provide the site specific data that is required but often missing in the assessment.